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Title: Fiction and the theory of action
Author: Piercy, Laurence
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 0651
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores four mid-twentieth century fictional texts in relation to concepts of action drawn predominantly from Anglo-American analytic philosophy and contemporary psychology. The novels in question are Anna Kavan's Ice, Samuel Beckett's How It Is, Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire and Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano. The theory of action provides concepts, structures, and language to describe how agency is conceptualised at various levels of description. My exploration of these concepts in relation to fiction gives a framework for describing character action and the conceptualisation of agency in my primary texts. The theory of action is almost exclusively concerned with human action in the real world, and I explore the benefits and problems of transferring concepts from these discourses to literary criticism. My approach is focused around close reading, and a primary goal of this thesis is to provide nuanced analyses of my primary texts. In doing so, I emphasise the centrality of concepts of agency in fiction and provide examples of how action theory is applicable to literary criticism.
Supervisor: Piette, A. ; Vice, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available