Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.528351
Title: Fiction and the meaning of place : Writing the North of England 1845-1855 and 1955-1965
Author: Mansfield, Jane
Awarding Body: Leeds Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Leeds Beckett University
Date of Award: 2010
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Abstract:
Narratives help to affix identities to places. During the mid-nineteenth and the midtwentieth centuries, the North appears frequently in novels and plays and is particularly prominent in national imagination. Such fictional texts are narratives which help to create and maintain stereotypes of West Yorkshire and Manchester and to foster the concept of northern identity. Qualities of the North become more significant during these periods but qualities of northemness alter across time. The North's reputation as an uncivilized, but authentic place, as a land of bleakness, dearth and poverty, as an environment where only hard men and strong women survive, can be seen to permeate the writing of the mid-nineteenth century. However, tropes and stereotypes of the North are not unchanging; new stereotypes emerge and older stereotypes adapt to the newer settings of the mid-twentieth century. What might seem like a monolithic North is in fact an ever-changing imaginary land where few of the stereotypes remain unchanged. As with the narrative of England, the mythologies of the North modify and are politically inflected. Northern character is a narrative with longstanding political motivations in which individuals and geographical regions are 'placed' within hierarchies of power and prestige. This placing of the North has significance for those inside and outside the region. Northernness is a donned identity; it is also a rejected Other and it is a desired shadow or projection. Tropes and stereotypes alter across time but because of the nature of myth and stereotype, the concept of a North remains. The strength and longevity of a stereotype is closely linked to repetition and depictions of the North in fiction and film function as repetitions. Consequently, we should be wary of essentialising regions in the same way that we fight against essentialising genders or races. Key texts for the mid-nineteenth century include Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights (1847), Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (1847) and Shirley (1849), Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton (1849), North and South (1855) and The Life of Charlotte Brontl3 (1856), Charles Dickens' Hard Times (1854), and Benjamin Disraeli's Coningsby (1844) and Sybil (1845). Texts for the twentieth century include John Braine's Room at the Top (1957), David Storey's This Sporting Life (1960), Stan Barstow's A Kind of Loving (1960), Keith Waterhouse's Billy Liar (1959) and Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey (1958
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.528351  DOI: Not available
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