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Title: Bridging aspects of rhythm and prose fiction and Demi-Gods
Author: Robertson, Eliza
ISNI:       0000 0004 6425 2346
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2017
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My novel, Demi-Gods, begins when nine-year-old Willa meets Patrick, eleven, in 1950. Patrick is visiting their Salt Spring Island beach house from San Diego. On the first morning, Willa follows him to the beach, where he coaxes her into a dilapidated rowboat. Their cruise ends when she is stung by a jellyfish and Patrick convinces her to urinate on herself. This transaction, in which Patrick asserts authority over her body and she complies, cinches a knot of power between them. As the years proceed, this bond thickens. It’s not until later that she realizes their relationship is essentially self-effacing. Willa has never felt exalted under anyone else’s gaze, and Patrick has never felt as powerful. The knot of power has altered them both. Rather than explore my creative practice thematically, I have found it more fruitful to unpack a concept central to the novel’s form and formation: rhythm. My thesis seeks to understand that centrality—how rhythm initiates and sustains my writing and fiction more broadly. Before Plato emphasized the link between rhuthmos (ρυθμός) and metron (μέτρον), rhythm signified a fluid or flowing form. The first chapter contrasts two traditional metaphors for rhythm, rheos vs. cadentibus guttis. By tracing the etymology of rhuthmos, I find these metaphors are not mutually exclusive. In the second chapter, I question the metaphors we use to identify “presence” in prose fiction. I draw upon Derrida’s deconstruction of the presence-absence hierarchy and pitch rhythm as an alternative metaphor to “voice.” The final chapter draws parallels between my study of rhythm and Henri Bergson’s theory of duration, with a focus on the grammatical verbal. Here, I apply the concepts I have been discussing to Virginia Woolf’s The Waves. In its entirety, my thesis contemplates the ways in which rhythm bridges the experience of the reader with the experience of the writer, and how rhythm calls to me personally.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available