Masters and slaves: Britain’s cultural selves in Jon McGregor’s So Many Ways to Begin

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Abstract

This paper will explore the representation of self and other in Jon McGregor’s So Many Ways to Begin (2006); it will argue that this novel functions as a cultural diagnosis of contemporary Britain’s crisis of identity. What will be seen is that McGregor presents a complex, and philosophically sophisticated meditation upon both the idea of self-identity and the manner of its construction; through Carter’s journey, he incarnates the Hegelian master-slave death-struggle and presents a form of reconciliation between the two that allows both to co-exist within the same conceptual space and at the same time. Ultimately, what will be argued is that Jon McGregor is a young artist of considerable note who has valuable things to say about the possibilities and potential for the harmonious coexistence of cultural selves and others.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDouble Dialogues
Volume10
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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