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Title: No walls in Eden : architecture in twentieth-century fiction
Author: Farquharson, Katherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 4152
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis offers a range of novels and short stories as evidence that architecture, in twentieth-century fiction, is interrogated with a peculiar intensity. In these texts walls are untrustworthy, and access problematic; and as a result rooms are anxiously sealed, unsealed and re-sealed, and wallpaper pattern, graffiti, even marks on paintwork, endlessly deciphered. Alternately alarmed and excited by the modernist project to cast off the encumbrances of previous centuries, the twentieth-century protagonist seems to suffer from a range of spatial phobias, which is reflected in his relationship with architecture. The thesis considers these, and also identifies an alternative literary type – an heir, perhaps, to the nineteenth-century flâneur – who copes better with architectural permeability and is, therefore, better adapted to the modern world. In addition to investigating the figurative significance of architecture, the thesis explores and evaluates the discursive interplay between text and architecture, both within twentieth-century fiction, and between fiction and seminal works of architectural theory. The first and last chapters focus on marriage and domestic architecture in texts by Edith Wharton, Mona Caird, Thomas Hardy, Chuck Palahniuk and Mark Z. Danielewski. The second and fourth chapters consider the man (or woman), alone in a room, in texts by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Henri Barbusse, Virginia Woolf, Franz Kafka, Elizabeth Bowen, Albert Camus and Alain Robbe-Grillet; and enquire whether his sedentary stance is endorsed by the texts. The third chapter analyses two politically antithetical texts by Ayn Rand and Ann Petry, in which a protagonist struggles to find the point of equilibrium between self and world. The fifth chapter focuses on texts by J.G. Ballard and Doris Lessing with a view to pursuing a proposition, raised in Chapter 4, that post-war authors are using architecture as a figure through which to interrogate the inside/outside dichotomy. The final chapter continues to explore this issue, and also considers walls and skin as related tropes in late twentieth-century fiction.
Supervisor: Humble, Nicola; Edwards, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available