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Title: The exploration of familial myths and motifs in selected novels by Jane Austen and Walter Scott
Author: Fancett, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 4254
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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Taking the subject of the exploration of familial tropes in the novels of Walter Scott and Jane Austen, this thesis opens by investigating the literary context in which the two authors worked, as well as offering an explanation of the methodology used, and an exploration of criticism on the topic. An in-depth analysis of the historical state of the family provides this thesis with its social and historic background, and is offered in section two. Section three explores conventional presentations of the family in the novels, and contends that even such conventional interpretations are open to complex and fluid readings. In particular, this section explores the nuances surrounding the role of marriage as a symbol of comedy, and also as the fulfilment of a bildungsroman narrative. It also contends that social virtues are key in establishing the representation of familial roles and in this context inheritance and lineage are also explored. The ways in which familial representation may be employed for subversive or controversial purposes are the subject of section four. This thesis posits that subversive readings do not negate conventional ones but rather that alternate representations of the family create multiple, not hierarchal meanings. Marriage, children, inheritance, lineage, siblingship, incest, illegitimacy and widowhood are all part of section four's investigation. Abstract! Anna Fancett Section five works as a short coda to the thesis and raises questions about the role of the narratorial voice. In particular, it argues that although some critics have assumed that the author's authority is present in any direct, unnamed third-person narrator, the voice of the narrator must never be conflated with that of the author or implied author. This section postulates that the narratorial voice destabilises both the conventional and subversive use of the family in these novels and suggests that the texts generate multiple readings. Overall this thesis demonstrates that the social, cultural and literary pressures which operated on the concept of the family in the Romantic period are manifested in a parallel complexity in the ways in which familial tropes operate in the work of Scott and Austen. However, it also shows that these two authors move beyond a merely representational engagement with social structures to provide a new and dynamic engagement with the idea of the family in the Romantic novel.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Families in literature