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Title: Fictional maps : representation and space in works by Rushdie, Ondaatje and Hollinghurst
Author: Pringle, Gayle
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis argues that mapping strategies can be identified in contemporary fiction by Salman Rushdie, Michael Ondaatje and Alan Hollinghurst. Moreover, this fiction displays similar insights and problems to those found in recent theoretical explorations of mapping and spatial politics. Mapping is understood as the textual representation of spaces. The texts discussed use mapping strategies which foreground the extent to which spatial representations are politically significant. Henri Lefebvre’s work is used to argue that spaces are constructed by social relations and the varying, sometimes conflicting, representations of spaces they produce. Dominant representations can be challenged as writers explore the potential for resistant representations of space, or processes of mapping which do not dominate others. However, resistant mapping strategies are themselves challenged by the difficulties of effecting political agency in spaces without establishing a dominant representation. Postcolonial and poststructuralist theorists are invoked to confirm that wider issues regarding the political implications of representation are also applicable to spatial representations in particular. The work of Fredric Jameson on postmodern space and cognitive mapping is examined as a case study of the insights and pitfalls of mapping strategies in theoretical works. These issues and problems are then identified in the work of three novelists who use postmodern techniques and postcolonial contexts to represent spaces through mapping strategies. Salman Rushdie’s work demonstrates the tensions that remain in any attempt to effect resistance to dominant spatial representations by continually problematising the capacity of representation to realise that resistance.  The novels of Michael Ondaatje are used to confirm the necessity of mapping strategies to produce resistance, despite the consistently partial and unpredictable nature of both the maps and the resistance they provide. Alan Hollinghurst’s novels challenge dominant representations of space, yet cannot assert a straightforward practice of resistance but continued to reflect the ambiguities that must be admitted in mapping strategies. This thesis argues that the capacity for resistance of mapping strategies must be continually re-evaluated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available