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Exile, homecoming, and the remembered journey: towards a new writing of perspective, place and event

Tucker, Ian (2019) Exile, homecoming, and the remembered journey: towards a new writing of perspective, place and event. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

The final thesis is in two sections: Section I is a work of Creative Writing comprising a novel entitled Sunnyland; Section II is a self-reflective commentary on the writing of the novel which explores some of its formal decisions and attempts to place Sunnyland within a contemporary context. Section I Sunnyland – a novel: The basic conceit of the novel is that of a son constructing his estranged father’s biography from the latter’s journal fragments, letters, unfinished stories, etc. The novel's apparent protagonist, Jons, initially bewildered by the multiple accounts of places and events described in his father’s papers, becomes seduced by the potential for spatial limitlessness that they seem to provide. His sense of delimited space becomes increasingly “oceanic”, exemplified by the obsessive reconstruction of a “driftwood ship”. As the novel progresses the oceanic gives way to a psychosis of gyrating voices, in which the question becomes: who is narrating who? A quasi-autobiographical prologue appears to link the “real” author with the story that follows. Like the main body of the novel, the prologue takes actual memories of places and events and slews them into an invented narrative in a process that involves a kind of cut-up technique of past notes and diaries, which in fact echoes Jons’ own attempted reconstruction of his father’s life. Section II Critical Commentary: A reflective self-commentary is offered on the main formal and experimental decisions made in the writing of my novel Sunnyland. These will be set within the context of a range of innovative contemporary fiction, considering in particular the authors W. G. Sebald, Tom McCarthy, Ali Smith, David Shields, Deborah Levy and Gabriel Josipovici. In this study I have considered a range of authors who I believe are particularly illuminating in their exploration of new emerging representations of subjectivity within the novel over the last two decades. The inclusion of their writing here is to acknowledge a view of self and subjectivity that sits within the humanist/post-humanist debate regarding the status of the individual, and the challenge to conventional notions of realism and selfhood which their work enacts. The preface, placed at the beginning of Section I, properly begins the critical commentary, providing an insight to my initial critical motivations for embarking on the novel. This is followed in Section II by an introduction which will delimit a contemporary context. Observations and comparisons between the above texts and my own will be given in the main body of the work. Finally, I offer a conclusion in which I evaluate the success of the novel and reflect upon possible revisions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: creative writing novel critical commentary
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Ian Tucker
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 12:58
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2019 12:58
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24875

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