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Title: From realism to magical realism : the American Vietnam War novel
Author: Boyd, Joan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 605X
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis argues that changes in the form of the novel in post Second World War America, particularly certain novelists' considerations of realism as a viable mode of expression, have had a profound and lasting effect on Vietnam War literature and have been sustained into the twenty first century by a new generation of writers from ethnic minority groups. It examines prior criticism and points of view concerning the work of a number of established authors and considers the recent opinions on contemporary writers addressing the Vietnam experience for the first time. Where necessary the work will be contextualized with social history. The contribution to knowledge is fulfilled by the inclusion of Mexican- American writing within the past decade and by explaining its place in the overall literary contribution to the American Vietnam War novel. The method of investigation is literary critical analysis of selected novels from 1968 to 2002 as applied to examples of the authors' use of realism and magical realism, their imaginative language, the effect of trauma on literary expression and the manifestation of trauma in memory. When necessary, reference is made to myth criticism. The thesis outlines the tendency to go beyond realism and the forces which contributed to it, and argues that the more recent evolution from realism to magical realism, within the wide range of the Vietnam narrative, has facilitated a potentially more powerful and valid means of expression. The investigation concludes that despite being overtaken by other theatres of war, the conflict in Vietnam still maintains its place in American consciousness and that the recent examples of magical realism offered by ethnic minority writers have made a significant contribution to ensuring that the voices from a wider cultural mix are being added to the literary representations of the Vietnam experience.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available