Redemption in the work of Francis Stuart
The idea of redemption is central to an understanding of the work of Francis Stuart. Through an examination of its development and expression, it is possible to demonstrate the integrity of his work and its distinctive qualities. Such a demonstration is necessary because Stuart's writing has been subjected to comparatively little scholarly inquiry, although reviews of his work, especially that produced since 1949, suggest that it is impressive and important. First, a general background to Stuart's work, a discussion of the special problems associated with reading it, and a summary of his corpus is provided. This indicates that the idea of redemption is important to his earliest writing. The state of redemption is shown to be a necessary apotheosis for Stuart's outcast heroes; it involves spiritual suffering through which may be found a sense of reintegration and a higher reality. This is expressed through interrelated themes such as those of gambler, artist and ordinary man; mystic and criminal; sacred and profane love; and spirituality and the mundane. The nature of the redemptive experience is further elaborated by distinctive, complex motifs, especially the hare, the ark and the woman-Christ. Their recurrence provides an important element in the unity of Stuart's work. Because Stuart's idea of the outcast raises important biographical questions, an examination of the relationship between Stuart's life and his work is made. Finally, the way in which the idea of redemption exists in the language structures of Stuart's novels is examined, with especial reference to his most recent work, The High Consistory. The thesis shows that the development of the these of redemption demonstrates the integrity of Stuart's work.