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Title: Seductive and monstrous fictions : discourses of the orient in Walter Scott's Waverley novels
Author: Newsome, Sally
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 8192
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis examines the construction and function of spaces, characters and allusions in eight of Walter Scott’s Waverley novels.  Underpinned by postcolonial theory and recent analyses of the relationship between Romanticism and Orientalism, this thesis argues that Scott’s engagement with the discourses of Orientalism is complex and vexed, considering troubled issues of nation, empire and fiction writing. Chapter One examines the evidence of Scott’s letters, journal and prose works in order to uncover the varied sources for Scott’s conception of the Orient, and the extent to which his engagement with both literary Orientalism and British imperialism is characterised by ambivalence.  The following chapters examine texts ranging from Guy Mannering (1815) to Count Robert of Paris (1831) chronologically. As this discussion argues, the Orient functions as an ontologically unstable space in the Waverley novels, shifting geo-temporal locations between texts.  All the novels under investigation can be identified as offering a destabilising of what, following Edward Said, has been described as the master discourse of British Orientalism. Scott’s texts depict the Orient as an elusive space of dangerous alterity that presents a resistance to essentialising discourse and places invading westerners in positions of vulnerability. Moreover, this thesis identifies an inherent tension between Scott’s depiction of the Orient as a space that generates narrative, and the Waverley novels’ deconstruction of British narratives of the East as unreliable constructions that are implicated in the processes of imperialism.  While this self-conscious deconstruction of orientalist discourse as ‘seductive fiction’ further disrupts binary oppositions between East and West, the late fiction also depicts the peril of attempting to step beyond cultural boundaries.  As this thesis concludes, the tensions inherent in Scott’s construction of the Orient remain unresolved.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available