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Abstract

Brian Castro's Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria is a verse novel published in 2017 and the unlikely winner of a Prime Minister's Award in 2018. This article concentrates on the role of France and French referents in the text, showing that they embody a literary, transnational cosmopolitanism which the text at once hails and critiques. Beneath the gaudy and flashy serve of the novel's erudite sheen, a self-questioning or even self-vexation occurs, where the text gets the way of itself. Through ironizing its protagonist, Lucien Gracq. and through presenting the alternate personas of Catherine Bourgeois and the Dogman, and through the realization that Gracq’s writerly quest is also a propulsion towards his own demise, we see that the text's literariness is a kind of disguise. Yet the texts self-vexation do not involute it further;\ rather, they provide a way for readerly access into the poem, helping explain why, unexpectedly, this has proven Castro's most popular work with the Austrian reading public.

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