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Title: Legitimising AIDS literature : the case for establishing AIDS writing as a literary genre
Author: Lydon, Elizabeth
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2001
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The subject of this thesis is AIDS writing, broadly defined as British and American novels that are concerned with the medical conditions known as HIV and AIDS. These novels are mostly, although not exclusively, by and aimed at, gay men. My aim is to legitimise AIDS literature as an area of literary study through the use of genre theory. The writers and readers of AIDS writing have tended to come from marginalised groups and this has led, in part, to the critical silence that surrounds these texts. My aim is to challenge this neglect of a substantial body of writing and to present AIDS writing as a subject for serious literary consideration. The thesis begins with an examination of the meaning of literary legitimacy and the ways in which previously marginalised texts have achieved literary status. I argue that being considered a literary genre is one way in which a group of texts can be seen to be worthy of literary study. The first chapter explores theories of genre to arrive at a useful working definition for this study. The second chapter examines the concept of AIDS writing as a genre and explores the main aspects of that genre. The third chapter moves on to discuss issues of authorship and legitimacy that have characterised the few previous studies of AIDS writing. The main conclusion is that the connections between these texts, including subject matter and imagery, substantiate the consideration of AIDS writing as a literary genre. The establishment of AIDS writing as a genre is a means of legitimising it as an area for literary study and thus allowing that writing to gain literary status. As a consequence, the subject area of literary studies is broadened, and AIDS writing, and implicitly the ideologies contained within it, is afforded the importance conferred by having literary status.
Supervisor: Mills, Sara ; Lebihan, Jill Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available