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Title: Paradidomi : magical realism and the American South
Author: Young, Jennifer Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 2689 7661
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2009
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The thesis is comprised of a novel and a critical reflection. The novel component, entitled The Mathers’ Land, draws on traditions of magical realism, storytelling, memory and metafiction. The framing narrative of the novel follows Luanne Richardson, a librarian who has moved South with her new boyfriend, Kenneth Miers. As soon as they arrive in Peebles, North Carolina, Kenneth disappears. Luanne only knows that he last visited a particular house that belongs to the Mathers, the richest family in Peebles. Luanne forces an encounter with the head of the family, Walter Mathers. Despite her initially confrontational contact, Walter Mathers offers Luanne a job to construct a history of his family through interviews and records. He hopes the history will provide an answer to why his only son Eric has not produced an heir. Luanne’s research draws her into a claustrophobic society where no one seems to notice the frequent deaths of the wives of the Mathers family or their odd attachment to roses and a dogwood tree, as elements of magical realism occur in the frame story. The interviews Luanne conducts appear on the pages of the novel as fully developed stories, which draw on themes of tradition, loss and family attachment. These themes are explored through perceptions of memory and storytelling. The critical reflection component considers both what methods and writings made it to the thesis as well as what methods and writings did not. It explores the modes of construction, from the use of Oulipian and metafictional techniques to the use of magical realism. The major influences from specific writers are addressed in terms of structure, magical realism and Southerness, specifically Harry Mathews, Joseph McElroy, Mischa Berlinksi, Sharyn McCrumb, Randall Kenan, Steven Sherrill, and particularly Doris Betts. The reflection concludes by addressing what it means to be an expatriate ‘Southern’ writer.
Supervisor: Middleton, Peter ; Hammond, Elizabeth ; Hussein, Aamer Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN0080 Criticism ; PR English literature