Abstract

Will Self’s novel Umbrella (2012) contributes to a growing body of contemporary fiction that reactivates modernist narrative techniques in order to render the phenomenology of neurological disorders. In its return to the scenes of modernism, Umbrella casts doubt on successive psychiatric frameworks of diagnosis and treatment; these doubts correspond to similar dissatisfactions recently articulated within literary studies toward inherited critical methods. This article explores this recent turn in both fiction and interpretation away from strong theory and argues that the novel neither universalizes nor minoritizes but rather historicizes the lived worlds of neurological disability.

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