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Title: English-speaking war correspondents of the Spanish Civil War : why was objectivity impossible?
Author: Kelly, Charles John
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2013
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Abstract:
Clear Blue Waters of the Danube was planned and drafted from October 2007 to December 2012. It is written from the perspective of Daniel Rourke, a young man whose life is changed forever by the arrival into the family home of Marija Kovač, a Croatian refugee. The wars leading to the break-up of Yugoslavia, notably the Croatian War of Independence from 1990-5 and the Bosnian Civil War from 1992-5, provide the novel's historical background. Preparation included interviews with conflict survivors, witnesses, soldiers who fought in the war, and those who were children during the fighting. Research visits to Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina took place during the summers of 2008 and 2009. I also drew upon conversations with former Yugoslav refugees from my time working in London during the 1990s and early 2000s. Other information was selected from biographies, historical records, documentary films, diaries and reports by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Although the novel notes the key moments of Yugoslavia's violent break-up, Clear Blue Waters of the Danube is not a political thriller. It follows a young man on a journey of self-discovery that takes him away from the family home, first to London, then across the Balkans. By establishing the truth about terrible incidents from the past, he comes to a greater understanding about himself and his previous behaviour. More importantly he is able to re-evaluate the relationship with his father that lies at the heart of everything he does, and in whose shadow he has always lived. The question of whether a writer is truly able to separate himself from his/her subject matter is investigated in greater depth throughout my critical project. Planned between October 2007 and June 2008 then written over the following two years, the perspectives of English-speaking war correspondents during the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1939 are examined. Newspaper articles, memoirs, biographies and films are scrutinised. Although the allegiances of British newspapers were split more or less evenly, the majority of writers and reporters supported the Republican effort and invested huge amounts of personal feeling into their work. For a war fought over such contrasting values, a degree of bias was perhaps inevitable. As I began my research, my aim was to investigate to what extent objectivity in such circumstances was even possible. If news reports bore the hallmarks of fiction, what then of the Spanish Civil War novel? The final part of the project deals with Ernest Hemingway and For Whom the Bell Tolls. As a journalist, Hemingway had engaged in propaganda on behalf of the Republic and readily accepted the weak evidence behind the denunciation of Republican dissidents. Following the war‟s conclusion, he returned to Cuba to write his novel of the Spanish Civil War, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Ironically having written newspaper reports to spread misinformation, he elected to use the form of a novel to reveal his version of what had actually happened. Can fiction reveal the 'truth' about events when supposedly non-fiction texts cannot? My thesis asks fundamental questions about why we write and what we choose to write about. Can any writer truly separate him/herself from the subject matter? Can our understanding ever be full and free from bias and prejudice? Or do a writer's values permeate the work to the extent that, whether a newspaper article or a novel is written, genuine objectivity becomes impossible? Is the quest for objectivity a desirable or realistic aspiration?
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.594531  DOI: Not available
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