Throughout his rich and wide-ranging oeuvre, Will Self has been concerned with psychotropic states and the abuse of institutional power; these are often combined in his satiric representations of the psychiatric profession. Recurrent tropes such as metamorphosis, exaggerations of scale, distortions of inner and outer space, the combination of elevated language with the vernacular, and the creative juxtaposition of typically non-fungible spheres of human experience, cumulatively challenge assumptions made on the basis of direct sensory experience. Consequently, like many satirists, Self urges readers to exert their intellectual capacity over sensory instruction in order to interrogate the rhetoric employed by those in positions of authority. This, in turn, licenses us to make ethical judgements concerning the uses of institutional power.
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- ‘The Unfailing Regularity of Dr Busner’: Will Self and the Psychiatrists
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