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Title: Where the ghosts of meaning are : haunting and spectrality in the work of Hilary Mantel
Author: Arnold, Lucy Madelaine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 992X
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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Hilary Mantel has risen to mainstream prominence in recent years following her double Man Booker Prize wins for the historical novels Wolf Hall (2010) and Bring up the Bodies (2012). Yet, despite Mantel’s significant contribution to contemporary literature, and the extensive media attention she and her writing have garnered, critical studies of her oeuvre are still extremely limited. My thesis foregrounds the primary significance of the motif of the ghost and the situation of haunting for reading her work and in so doing seeks to address the critical occlusion Mantel’s work has been subject to within the academy. This thesis contends that Mantel’s use of the spectral is not a self-contained phenomena which renders a handful of her texts ‘ghost stories’ in a literal sense, but a ‘dis-organizing principle’ which suffuses the entire body of her work. It argues that Mantel recognises the simultaneously revelatory and disruptive potential of the spectral and exploits its ability to trouble the status quo, to perform disturbing disclosures on multiple levels, disclosures which are as often opaque and enigmatic as they are clarificatory. In the five chapters which make up the thesis I read haunting and spectrality in relation to life-writing, care-giving, social and political marginalisation, technology and intertextuality, demonstrating the evolution of the ‘Mantelian ghost’ and the situation of haunting within Mantel’s oeuvre and establishing them as articulating reactions to multiple concerns emerging from a complex and shifting social and political landscape. Ultimately, I argue that when one meets, in one of Mantel’s texts, a situation of haunting or a ghost in the Mantelian mode, it is a profoundly ethical encounter in which something or someone previously rendered silent or invisible is made available for acknowledgement, consideration and debate.
Supervisor: Ray, Nicholas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available