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Title: An elusive identity : versions of South America in English literature from Aphra Behn to the present day
Author: Ross, John Mackenzie
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1990
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Rather than being an account of 'South Americanism' to echo Edward Said's Orientalism (1978), this study of books about South America in English literature attempts to make the critical and methodological distinctions which would be essential to such an account. Its examination of the geography of the 'South America' of the European imagination therefore begins by using Roland Barthcs' model - from Mythologies (1957) - of sinile as the cliched popular stereotype of China, la Chine, in order to differentiate the physical reality of the Southern American continent from the literary worlds which have been promulgated under that title. The textual strategics adopted to sustain (or subvert) these 'mythological' assumptions in a number of representative works - ranging in era from Aphra Bchn's Orouiwko (1688) to Angela Carter's The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1972), and in genre from Darwin's Journal of Researches (1839) to Conrad's Nostromo (1904) - are then detailed. Authors arc examined individually, in terms of their cultural and generic context, but each book has also been chosen to contribute to an overall picture of methods of presenting the 'alien' in Western writing. To this end, authors such as W.H. Hudson, John Maseficld, R.B. Cunninghame Graham and Elizabeth Bishop arc contrasted with analogous Latin American writers - D.F. Sarmicnto, Alejo Carpenlier, Mario Vargas Llosa and Euclides da Cunha. In the final analysis, this is a study of the various ways in which the words 'South America' can act as the ideological or meaning-giving centre of a text. It is therefore not surprising that only the letter of the works under discussion - their own conception of this relationship - is found to be adequate to the complexity of the mimetic problems raised as a result.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available