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Title: Beastly spaces : geomorphism in the literary depiction of animals
Author: Paddock, Alexandra Angharad
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 978X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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In 2010, Simon Estok observed that, "the most immediate question ecocriticism can ask is about how our assumptions about animals affect the natural environment". In this thesis, I respond to this challenge by generating a sustained conversation between the hitherto surprisingly distinct fields of animal studies and ecocriticism. I do this by formulating a new critical concept, that of the geomorphic animal, which I use to show how literary representations of animals often expose the many complex ways in which they constitute space rather than simply inhabiting it. This, in turn, should make them central to future ecocritical readings. I focus on two periods, medieval and modern; the broad historical and generic scope of this thesis is intended to demonstrate the conceptual validity and robustness of geomorphic readings. Chapter One shows how concerns with death and symbiosis are expressed through the earth-bound activities of the geomorphic animals of the Exeter Book riddles. Chapter Two examines geomorphic whales in texts deriving from two related traditions: the Book of Jonah and the Physiologus. Chapters Three and Four focus on modern theatre, which affords distinctive ways of articulating the spatial implications of geomorphism. Chapter Three discusses the literary representation of museums and zoos in terms of the interpretative complexities generated by staging and spectacle. Chapter Four, focusing on mediation, discusses the interplay between animals, viewpoints and place in theatre, also taking into account particular issues arising from the adaptation of plays into films. This argument paves the way to addressing the geomorphic depiction of marginalised humans and human groups, suggesting the critical potential of geomorphism as a means of furthering feminist and post-colonialist aims.
Supervisor: Bose, Mishtooni ; Shepherd-Barr, Kirsten Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ecocriticism in literature ; Animal Studies ; hondwyrm ; whales ; theatre ; Patience ; medieval ; geomorphic ; Equus ; riddles ; zoos