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Title: Unlocking the cellar door : critical commentary of 'Silver and Salt'
Author: Stansfield, Katherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2703 8594
Awarding Body: Aberystwyth University
Current Institution: Aberystwyth University
Date of Award: 2010
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A historical novel set in a fictionalised version of St Ives, Cornwall, spanning the period 1875-1936, during which time pilchard fishing is replaced by tourism as the main industry in coastal communities. Silver and Salt shows the effect of this shift in industry and identity through the eyes of local woman Pearl who experiences confusion and distress at the changes in her home. She cannot separate the past from the present and is haunted by the disappearance of Nicholas, her great love, in 1889. During a riot caused by disputes over Sunday observance, based on the real-life Newlyn Riots, he vanishes. As her confusion in 1936 increases, Pearl believes that her memories show her what really happened to him. The critical commentary which accompanies the novel focuses on perceptions of Cornwall and discusses Silver and Salt’s efforts to offer a fresh construction of place through the foregrounding of the women of the Cornish pilchard industry, a group marginalised by Cornish history, academia and fiction. The commentary examines the relationship between fiction and tourism promotion in creating perceptions of Cornwall as a timeless exotic ‘other’, focusing on the work of Daphne du Maurier and the Cornish Riviera campaign of the Great Western Railway. In addition, the commentary explores the role of women in the Cornish pilchard industry, how the industry attempted to control their behaviour through its language and system of beliefs, and how the women resisted traditional ideas of femininity through their work. There is also a discussion of the narratological decisions behind the writing of the novel.
Supervisor: Poster, Jeremy ; Grovier, Noyes Keller Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available