Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing

First Advisor

Jirgens, Karl (English Language, Literature and Creative Writing)

Keywords

Literature.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Hands of the Tyrants is a satirical novella featuring a protagonist (a CSIS agent named Lucas Young) who infiltrates a collective of performance and conceptual artists known as Apollo's Army. Placed firmly in the literary tradition of Menippean satire, this novella offers the reader a mixture of prose and verse, extended dialogues and debates, multiple genres, absurd situations, and a journey--all of which equally satirize artists and the institutions they rely upon. Lucas' initiation into the art world is a 21st century transposition of the adventures of his fictional ancestors: Alice, Candide, and Gulliver. In Hands of the Tyrants, a cross-country tour of Canada is told through two first-person narrators (Young and another agent, Dr. Pangloss) in the form of surveillance reports. The contrast between these characters and their reports becomes heightened as Lucas fails to distinguish the line between his assumed and actual identities. The object of satiric attack in this novella is the ironic relationship between avant-garde artists and a government which funds their artistic dissent. Although Hands of the Tyrants is set in Canada during the summer of 2010, it transcends this specific time and place by satirizing the universal vices of decadence, hypocrisy, and vanity.

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