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Title: Lesbian love stories in young adult literature and graphic memoirs : narrative constructions of same-sex relationships between female characters across genre and form
Author: Gillingham, Erica
ISNI:       0000 0004 7233 6208
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis examines the narrative constructions of same-sex relationships between female characters in lesbian love stories published for a young adult audience in the United States in English from 1976 to 2016. The thesis argues that there has been a significant shift in the portrayals of lesbian and female bisexual characters, and their same-sex relationships, during this period, as well as a dramatic increase in the diversity of these stories for a young adult audience. The interrogation of narrative and characterisation takes into consideration the ways these lesbian love stories participate in and are shaped by genre, discussing generic conventions from romance, fantasy, science fiction, and memoir and, to a lesser extent, magical realism and historical fiction. The investigation also privileges the idea of love, in its multitude of forms, as the central theme of the selected novels, and for the research project as a whole. Through the examination of the research corpus, the thesis, first, proposes three key narratives elements—the revelation (coming out), the first kiss, and the resolution—that serve a particular function in the representations of these characters and their romantic relationships in YA novels and graphic memoirs. The analysis then includes case studies on the work of two prominent authors of lesbian and bisexual young adult novels, Julie Anne Peters and Malinda Lo, in respective chapters. The thesis will next explore philosophically motivated fiction on the theme of love. Finally, a study of graphic memoirs will consider genre in the portrayals of lesbian love stories in the comics form. Overall, the thesis illustrates a spectrum of storytelling—from the conventional romance narrative to novels that are deeply invested in the depiction of love, in all its forms—through the depictions of same-sex relationships between female characters for a young adult audience.
Supervisor: Humble, Nicki ; Waller, Alison Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available