Existential precursors and contemporaries in Banville's Alex Cleave trilogy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

A chapter examining the influence of Freud in Banville’s oeuvre but as the title suggests it is more Freud the philosopher than the psychologist that is discussed. Freud’s ideas are shown to have many parallels with fellow philosopher-psychologists; namely Kierkegaard, Heidegger and most importantly Nietzsche. The existential motifs common to these thinkers are explored – the questioning of rationality as a determinant for people’s behaviours with the novel notion of the unconscious, the personal as well as the moral desire to interact with other people and how this is often reduced or debased to egotistic pleasures, the role of bad faith and inauthenticity as a fact of human personality. The paper goes on to argue that Banville’s engagement with contemporary moral philosophers such as Midgley, Gaita and John Gray emphasizes the ethical turn in Banville’s post-millennial work that holds existential philosophy itself at fault for questionable behaviour in relation to sex and power. Many of Banville’s male characters are erudite figures able to quote the names discussed in the paper and yet have little to no moral compass. The philosophical precursors that both Banville and his narrators are fond of are shown to be culpable, if only through the implications of their ideas, in the morally dubious actions of Banville’s characters.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationJohn Banville and his Precursors
EditorsStephen Butler, Pietra Palazzolo, Michael Springer
Place of PublicationLondon
Chapter11
Pages195-214
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-3500-8453-7, 978-1-3500-8454-4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2019

Fingerprint

Trilogy
Sigmund Freud
Precursor
Cleft
Psychologists
Philosopher
Thinkers
Philosophy
Rationality
Fault
Narrator
Friedrich Nietzsche
Martin Heidegger
Bad Faith
Moral philosophers
Names
Questioning
Erudite
Pleasure
Søren Kierkegaard

Keywords

  • existentialism
  • Kierkegaard
  • Heidegger
  • Nietzsche
  • Freud

Cite this

Butler, S. (2019). Existential precursors and contemporaries in Banville's Alex Cleave trilogy. In S. Butler, P. Palazzolo, & M. Springer (Eds.), John Banville and his Precursors (pp. 195-214). London.
Butler, Stephen. / Existential precursors and contemporaries in Banville's Alex Cleave trilogy. John Banville and his Precursors . editor / Stephen Butler ; Pietra Palazzolo ; Michael Springer. London, 2019. pp. 195-214
@inbook{336bbd75535044778b4e8075b92eaa49,
title = "Existential precursors and contemporaries in Banville's Alex Cleave trilogy",
abstract = "A chapter examining the influence of Freud in Banville’s oeuvre but as the title suggests it is more Freud the philosopher than the psychologist that is discussed. Freud’s ideas are shown to have many parallels with fellow philosopher-psychologists; namely Kierkegaard, Heidegger and most importantly Nietzsche. The existential motifs common to these thinkers are explored – the questioning of rationality as a determinant for people’s behaviours with the novel notion of the unconscious, the personal as well as the moral desire to interact with other people and how this is often reduced or debased to egotistic pleasures, the role of bad faith and inauthenticity as a fact of human personality. The paper goes on to argue that Banville’s engagement with contemporary moral philosophers such as Midgley, Gaita and John Gray emphasizes the ethical turn in Banville’s post-millennial work that holds existential philosophy itself at fault for questionable behaviour in relation to sex and power. Many of Banville’s male characters are erudite figures able to quote the names discussed in the paper and yet have little to no moral compass. The philosophical precursors that both Banville and his narrators are fond of are shown to be culpable, if only through the implications of their ideas, in the morally dubious actions of Banville’s characters.",
keywords = "existentialism, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Freud",
author = "Stephen Butler",
year = "2019",
month = "7",
day = "11",
language = "English",
isbn = "978-1-3500-8452-0",
pages = "195--214",
editor = "Stephen Butler and Palazzolo, {Pietra } and Michael Springer",
booktitle = "John Banville and his Precursors",

}

Butler, S 2019, Existential precursors and contemporaries in Banville's Alex Cleave trilogy. in S Butler, P Palazzolo & M Springer (eds), John Banville and his Precursors . London, pp. 195-214.

Existential precursors and contemporaries in Banville's Alex Cleave trilogy. / Butler, Stephen.

John Banville and his Precursors . ed. / Stephen Butler; Pietra Palazzolo; Michael Springer. London, 2019. p. 195-214.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

TY - CHAP

T1 - Existential precursors and contemporaries in Banville's Alex Cleave trilogy

AU - Butler, Stephen

PY - 2019/7/11

Y1 - 2019/7/11

N2 - A chapter examining the influence of Freud in Banville’s oeuvre but as the title suggests it is more Freud the philosopher than the psychologist that is discussed. Freud’s ideas are shown to have many parallels with fellow philosopher-psychologists; namely Kierkegaard, Heidegger and most importantly Nietzsche. The existential motifs common to these thinkers are explored – the questioning of rationality as a determinant for people’s behaviours with the novel notion of the unconscious, the personal as well as the moral desire to interact with other people and how this is often reduced or debased to egotistic pleasures, the role of bad faith and inauthenticity as a fact of human personality. The paper goes on to argue that Banville’s engagement with contemporary moral philosophers such as Midgley, Gaita and John Gray emphasizes the ethical turn in Banville’s post-millennial work that holds existential philosophy itself at fault for questionable behaviour in relation to sex and power. Many of Banville’s male characters are erudite figures able to quote the names discussed in the paper and yet have little to no moral compass. The philosophical precursors that both Banville and his narrators are fond of are shown to be culpable, if only through the implications of their ideas, in the morally dubious actions of Banville’s characters.

AB - A chapter examining the influence of Freud in Banville’s oeuvre but as the title suggests it is more Freud the philosopher than the psychologist that is discussed. Freud’s ideas are shown to have many parallels with fellow philosopher-psychologists; namely Kierkegaard, Heidegger and most importantly Nietzsche. The existential motifs common to these thinkers are explored – the questioning of rationality as a determinant for people’s behaviours with the novel notion of the unconscious, the personal as well as the moral desire to interact with other people and how this is often reduced or debased to egotistic pleasures, the role of bad faith and inauthenticity as a fact of human personality. The paper goes on to argue that Banville’s engagement with contemporary moral philosophers such as Midgley, Gaita and John Gray emphasizes the ethical turn in Banville’s post-millennial work that holds existential philosophy itself at fault for questionable behaviour in relation to sex and power. Many of Banville’s male characters are erudite figures able to quote the names discussed in the paper and yet have little to no moral compass. The philosophical precursors that both Banville and his narrators are fond of are shown to be culpable, if only through the implications of their ideas, in the morally dubious actions of Banville’s characters.

KW - existentialism

KW - Kierkegaard

KW - Heidegger

KW - Nietzsche

KW - Freud

UR - https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/john-banville-and-his-precursors-9781350084520/

M3 - Chapter

SN - 978-1-3500-8452-0

SP - 195

EP - 214

BT - John Banville and his Precursors

A2 - Butler, Stephen

A2 - Palazzolo, Pietra

A2 - Springer, Michael

CY - London

ER -

Butler S. Existential precursors and contemporaries in Banville's Alex Cleave trilogy. In Butler S, Palazzolo P, Springer M, editors, John Banville and his Precursors . London. 2019. p. 195-214