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Title: Confusion : Iris Murdoch, the Gothic and the sense of place
Author: Perry, Sarah
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis comprises my novel Confusion together with a critical piece exploring depictions and uses of the sense of place - in particular architecture and the built environment - in the Gothic, and in the Gothic legacy in contemporary fiction. I have chosen to focus on two key Gothic texts and two novels by Iris Murdoch. My novel Confusion depicts a man's entry into a house in which the inhabitants are each struggling with distinct and 'confusing' moral, sexual, spiritual and emotional problems. John Co le is at first only able to understand the situation in which he finds himself by 'reading' his life - and that of others - as a kind of fiction. The novel's use of third person narration interspersed with diary entries permits an exploration of the distance between John's perception of events (in his role as 'reader') and the events themselves, and the inevitable narrowing of that distance as he enters the 'text' he is at first content merely to 'read'. The novel places particular emphasis on the sense of place evoked through John's perception of what he sees, and, though intended as realist fiction, draws on Gothic motifs of ruin, madness and transgression. The critical component of the thesis sets Confusion within the context of essentially realist contemporary novels which nonetheless appear to exploit Gothic narrative protocols, focusing particularly on the treatment of place in the novels of Iris Murdoch. The Introduction explores the origins of the Gothic, the crucial importance of the sense of place as a Gothic device, and the extent to which realist fiction may make use of Gothic protocols. It emphasises the importance of consciousness - both of character and reader - to the construction and perception of the sense of place.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available