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Title: Doing it by the book : the uses of paratext in creating expectation and determining structural genre in contemporary British fiction
Author: Adams, Victoria
ISNI:       0000 0004 2713 6127
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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My thesis is engaged – creatively and critically – in theorising the paratext of hybrid works which fall in the boundary space between a novel and a collection of short stories, and in charting how the production and reception of such works relates to perceived commercial pressure in the British publishing industry. It offers a methodological suggestion for identifying and approaching structural genre boundaries through a sliding scale of monotextual and polytextual signifiers; identifying the levels of narrative unity within the printed, bound book. Presented in two parts, my thesis aims to mimic the iterative reading experience – each part enhancing and developing the content of the other – which it identifies as key to the hybridity of the books under discussion. Part one contains the critical component and Part two presents my research in the form of an original, hybrid work of fiction titled Steal This Book. Part one Chapter one introduces the key critical concepts of paratext, monotext, polytext, and structural genre in the frame of reference of British fiction. Chapter two addresses the historical precedents of marketplace dictating form in British publishing. Chapter three offers a unique perspective on how closer examinations of paratext can assist writers, readers and critics in the digital age. Chapter four examines the position of the reader in relation to hybrid fiction and Chapter five demonstrates a variety of different paratextual forms, structures, and methods which British writers are using today. Part two Steal This Book provides a distinct commentary through example, representing the practical effects of paratext through its own structure. In the five interlinked narratives both the thematic and the character-driven story arcs aim to straddle the boundary space between short story collection and novel, expanding on the structurally-driven theorising of Part one by demonstrating the necessity of structure coming second to story in order to provide a satisfying read.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; S.Y. Killingley Trust ; Newcastle University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available