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Title: Reading the graphic surface : the presence of the book in fiction by B.S. Johnson, Christine Brooke-Rose and Alasdair Gray.
Author: White, Glyn.
ISNI:       0000 0001 1567 2406
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis develops a critical vocabulary for dealing with the visual appearance of prose fiction where it is manipulated for effect by authors. It explores why literary criticism and theory has dismissed such features as either unreadable experimental gimmicks or, more recently, as examples of the worst kind of postmodernist decadence. Through the examination of three problematical texts (B.S. Johnson's Albert Angelo, Christine Brooke-Rose's Thru and Alasdair Gray's Lanark: a Life in Four Books), the thesis demonstrates that an awareness of the graphic surface can make significant contributions to interpretation particularly around the issues of representation in fiction and our understanding of the reading process in general. There are four large chapters divided into sections. Chapter One sets out to demonstrate both how and why the graphic surface has been neglected; the first section looks at the visual perception of graphic surface and at how that perception may be obscured by other concerns or automatised until unnoticed. Section two looks at theoretical obstacles to the perception of the graphic surface, particularly those which see printed text as either an idealised sign-system or a representation of spoken language. Section three moves on to examine how 'blindness' to the graphic surface, and particularly to its potential mimetic usage, is reflected and perpetuated in literary criticism. Section four examines critical assumptions about the transformation of manuscript to novel, and what our familiarity with the printed form of the book leads us to take for granted. Section five discusses our choice of texts and their specific authorial and critical backgrounds. Chapters Two, Three and Four deal with the three chosen texts (listed above) individually and in detail, before a concluding summary which touches on some of the implications of the project.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature