Sunday, 17 July 2011

Eight Aspects of grotesque kitsch and freaky metamorphosis

I am grateful to An Anatomy of Literary Nonsense by Wim Tigges for making the link between kitsch and the grotesque.

The grotesque typically combines heterogeneous categories: in this case an animal and inanimate object.

Contrary to the notion of the lack of utility of such combinations it is clear that the example of the ashtray is functional.
The kitsch combination is grotesque on several other levels:

  1. A creature 'low' in the scale of being - associated with earth and water (Compare Shakespeare's Caliban in The Tempest)
  2. A figure of evil; Satan, in Milton's Paradise Lost shifts shapes accordingly.
  3. Open-mouthed is the popular form of the open-body identified by Bakhtin in Rabelais and His World.
  4. A figure of metamorphosis, in its life-cycle, mirrors the unstable nature of the grotesque world
  5. Elements of play, humour, and the ridiculous
  6. Body-part exaggeration of size - mouth / tongue.
  7. A reminder of death - this is, finally, an ash-tray. The grotesque, finally, is the decomposition of bodies
  8. But laughter asserts life against death.

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