Postmodernism and the ontological dominant: the poetics of integration in Peter Ackroyd's The House of Doctor Dee

María Jesús Martínez Alfaro

Abstract

This article proposes an analysis of Peter Ackroyd's The House of Doctor Dee (1993) in the light of two different dichotomies: Brian McHale's epistemological (cognitive) / ontological (postcognitive) dominant and John Vernon's garden / map dynamics. The House of Doctor Dee is constructed around a series of strategies closely related to the postcognitive worldview, strategies which have come to be associated with postmodernist aesthetics and which can as well be regarded as confirming and developing ideas and devices already present in previous works by the same author. Significantly, the techniques in what McHale calls the postmodernist repertoire can be said to be based on the same integrative principle that rules Vernon's garden, the latter being an image of wholeness which stands in direct opposition to the splitting rationale of the map. Vernon's dynamics of integration, together with McHale's ontological structures, become in my analysis the key to understanding Ackroyd's novel, while simultaneously suggesting an interesting perspective from which to approach postmodernist literature as a whole.

Keywords

Literatura inglesa; Novela; Posmodernismo; Ackroyd, Peter; The House of Doctor Dee



DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.1999.12.08