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Title: A hidden and unsettling presence : searching for the missing child in the fiction of Anne Hebert and Suzanne Jacob
Author: Elder, H.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2002
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Throughout the work of Anne Hebert and Suzanne Jacob, the lost child appears in man guises, and in many settings, from the surreal and grotesque to the contemporary and realistic. This thesis examines the child's place within the narrative structures of three novels by each writer. It explores the relationship between maternal subjectivity and the emergence of the child's voice, in order to address the link between this often conflictual relationship and the production of narrative itself, and to compare each writer's depiction of the association between the production of narrative and the production of children. The novels examined in this thesis feature reluctant mothers, or women whose maternal status is uncertain, and who are contingently, equivocally maternal. However, a number of these ostensibly maternal attributes can also be ascribed to narrators, who are also portrayed as contingent, reluctant, or ambivalent, and whose authority is uncertain. The narrator's uncertainty and contingency are reflected in the formal properties of these works, whose narratives are fragmented and whose narrative focalization is unstable, divided between multiple points of view. Maternity and the presence of children are frequently implicated in this splitting, and narrative and maternity are presented in conflict and competition. Moreover, the difficulties inherent in the production of narrative, the fragmentation, burial, of narrative are linked to the liminal, ghostly or equivocal presence of a child. In unravelling the various textual relationships between the production of children and the production of narrative, the thesis examines the ways in which the concealment of, or search for, a child shapes and directs each of the novels, resulting in a body of writing that is both provocative and unsettling.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available