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Title: Metaphors of drama in some recent British fiction
Author: Kennedy, Alan
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1973
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Metaphors of drama and the concept of dramatic action offer a valuable way to approach the fiction of the post -Modern period in Britain. The subject of "role- playing" is an important one in recent social science, but one need not have recourse to any one or another theory of role - behaviour in order to comprehend the use of metaphors of drama in contemporary fiction. Novelists themselves have been investigating fundamental areas of human experience for a long time and their works reveal important truths not dependent on a received theory -- if indeed there is such a thing -- of roles in society. This study tries to avoid the pitfalls open to those who use a naive concept of Society as a rigid set of institutions and roles which are somehow doled out to passive and accepting new members. In this it echoes, without necessarily endorsing, the Modern indifference to Society as a value. The term Society is avoided not out of any anti -social motive, but in order to attempt to employ a less over -worked set of terms which allow us to comprehend more fully the way in which the modern novel works and what it achieves with its methods. Dramatic role -playing is considered in this study, therefore, not primarily as a matter of accepting a position in a rigid, defined and stable society, and part of the purpose of this thesis is to comment on the inadequacy of generalizations about the Novel which see it as somehow inherently Social as a genre. Similarly, a number of generalizations about the "anti- Social" nature of the Modern period and the supposedly more orthodox, Social nature of the post -Modern period in Britain are considered. It is found that while the goal of modern fiction is not to foster accommodation to Society, it does insist on the need to admit the reality of a world beyond the limits of the individual ego and imagination. In this sense, the modern novel is "social" because it posits the prime requisite for the creation of a possible human society: the recognition of the world of the other. Dramatic metaphor expresses the interplay of inner and outer worlds and dramatic action is seen to be the way out of Romantic solipsism. The full range of meaning of metaphors of drama is suggested in the novels of Joyce Cary; here the second trilogy about the politician Chester Nimmo is studied in detail. The novels of Muriel Spark are considered as-episodes in one emergent novel which looks at the paradoxical question of telling truths by means of fictions -- fictions which can be novels or can be "poses" of the individual in face -to -face situations. Christopher Isherwood uses dramatic metaphors throughout his work and his themes are best expressed in his later novel A Single Man which is unified by dramatic metaphor. A study of metaphors of drama in the novels of Graham Greene reveals inconsistencies between the dramatic action engaged in by the characters in the novels and that of the novelist who is also a poser whose novel is his persona, or way of appearing to the world. The endings of two of John Fowles' novels are studied as ritual dramas which are the f ocal points of the individual works. In the concluding chapter a number of other novelists are considered, including Kingsley Amis and Saul Bellow. Perhaps the most important figure in the last chapter is Iris Murdoch whose work is apparently a contradiction of many of the themes developed in the body of the thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available