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Title: Jane Gardam : religious writer
Author: James, Nicola
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 7775
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines the work of the award-winning contemporary English short story and novel writer Jane Gardam. It proposes that much of her achievement and craft stems from her engagement with religion. It draws on Gardam’s published works from 1971 to 2014 including children’s books and adult novels. While Gardam has been reviewed widely, there is little serious critical appreciation of her fiction and there are misreadings of the influence of religion in her work. I therefore analyse the religious dimensions of her stories: the language, stylistics and hermeneutic of Gardam’s three religious influences, namely the Anglo-Catholic, Benedictine and Quaker movements and how she sites them within her work. The thesis proposes lectio divina, arguably an ancient form of contemporary reader-response criticism, as a framework to describe the Word’s religious agency when embedded or alluded to in fiction. It also considers and applies critical discussion on the medieval concept of the aevum, a literary religious space. Finally, I suggest that religious writing such as Gardam’s has a place in the as yet unexplored ‘poetic’ strand of Receptive Ecumenism, a new movement that seeks to address reception of the Word between members of different faith communities. Having examined many aspects of Gardam’s writing, its history and potential, I conclude that her achievement owes much to her engagement with particular and divergent forms of religious life and practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BL Religion ; BR Christianity ; PR English literature