This dissertation explores mid to late twentieth century manifestations of anonymous authorship as both an aesthetic and material site that is co-existent with the textual issues of originality and ownership contained within their fiction. Working out of, among others, Michel Foucault's insights on the institutional function of authorship, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's notion of rhizomatic production and Pierre Bourdieu's understanding of the field of cultural production, I examine how self-reflexive anonymous authorship becomes a textual construction that must be read alongside the privatizing effects of copyright on textual production in the economic-juridical order of neoliberalism through a specific look at the relation between materiality and aesthetics in such figures as J.D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon and Wu Ming. In so doing, I contend that the institutional function authorship reveals a provocative collusion of aesthetics, copyright and corporatization in the late twentieth century. Arguing that self-reflexive anonymous authorship—in its emphasis on its own mediated status and dissembling—acts as a dissident form of cultural production in the economic-juridical order of neoliberalism.
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Thesis advisor: Collis, Stephen
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