Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.721055
Title: Rabardy : a novel, and, The South-Pacific short stories of Louis Becke : a critical study
Author: Warren, Victoria
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstract:
This thesis consists of a novel, Rabardy, and an extended critical analysis of the South- Pacific short stories of Louis Becke. Rabardy is based on events which took place around 1882, in what is now the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea, a place I know personally. The story follows the activities of white traders and a missionary, who negotiate and sometimes violently conflict with the indigenous Melanesians, and who become embroiled in the dissolution of a disastrous French Catholic settler colony. My protagonist is a French sea captain in his late fifties, a man admired for his competence by traders yet considered a monster by the colonists he serves, who believe he is cynically imprisoning them. Rabardy’s ultimate disillusionment with the wider Western colonial project is suggested by the final documentary section – his journal, which redirects the story towards its hidden subject: the Melanesian people. In both elements of this thesis, one problem is addressed in different ways: how to narrate colonialism. With stories from Sebald’s The Emigrants and Louis Becke as a model, the novel incorporates different voices and documents to build up a fragmentary image of a complex picture. My frame narrator is based on Louis Becke, who sat beside the dying sea captain. My critical essay reappraises Becke and his stories – long out of print – which I encountered during my research. Through close readings and a re-examination of his biography, I reject certain myths and uncover a more aesthetically and ideologically complex engagement with the anxieties of empire than Becke’s current reputation permits. I show how Becke uses polyphony to dramatise and ventriloquise voices from either side of the colonial conflict, nesting different mindsets, types of narration and consciousness in a way which demonstrates the proto-modernist impressionism which is usually associated with Conrad and Ford.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.721055  DOI: Not available
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