Journal of Literature and Humanities
Research Articles

Grotesque Elements in Great Apes by Will Self


Department of English Language and Literature, Atatürk University, Faculty of Letters, Erzurum, Turkey

Journal of Literature and Humanities 2022; 1: 96-102
DOI: 10.5152/AUJFL.2022.995204
Read: 821 Downloads: 169 Published: 21 June 2022

This study aims to determine the grotesque elements in Great Apes by Will Self, a contemporary English novelist. By focusing on the protagonist painter Simon Dykes’s metamorphosis into an ape and his upside-down world this novel is analyzed in the light of two different concepts: grotesque realism by Mikhail Bakhtin and uncanny grotesque by Wolfgang Kayser. Bakhtin associates grotesque with medieval and Renaissance carnivals and points out the general characteristics of grotesque realism which include a topsy-turvy world, material body principle, irregularity, bad language, and satire. Kayser presents a psychological attitude towards grotesque by defining it as a literary mode to express the alienation of modern man. On the one hand, the novel celebrates the metamorphosis by using the image of a grotesque body that lowers abstract, spiritual, noble, and ideal to the material level. On the other hand, the metamorphosis symbolizes his alienation from self, family, and society. This study explores the novel within the framework of these two different concepts of grotesque.

Cite this article: Seçen, E. (2022). Grotesque Elements in Great Apes by Will Self. Journal of Literature and Humanities, 68, 96-102.

EISSN 2822-4779