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Title: 'Grass' ; 'Winter Park' ; &, Consciousness in fiction
Author: Guest, Graham Emory
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis is in four parts: a brief Introduction; a novella, Grass; a novel, Winter Park; and a critical essay, “Consciousness in Fiction”. The Introduction explains why Grass, Winter Park, and “Consciousness in Fiction” together form a cohesive and integrated thesis; the chief reason is a shared concern with consciousness, i.e., perception and reflection. Grass is a coming-of-age story about a boy and his lawnmower (and his edger) set in East Texas in the nineteen-seventies. It is written from the perspective of its protagonist, Henry, in first person present tense, but there are no moments of internal reflection, only perception, leading one to wonder whether there is something wrong with Henry. The story’s sparse style is inspired by Robbe-Grillet’s Jealousy and is intended to allow for maximum reader engagement and creativity. Grass is also supposed to be funny, albeit darkly. Winter Park is a tale of two unlikely friends: Eric Swanson - a drug-addled philosopher from Colorado who suspects he has committed some terrible misdeed, and Harris Birdsong - an epileptic, synaesthetic savant from the deep south who has memorized a dictionary. The two meet at a rodeo college penal camp in West Texas called Dude Ranch, where their friendship develops and their individual philosophic and romantic dreams begin to materialize. Part I of the novel is from Swanson’s perspective; Part II through the end, from Birdsong’s; both Parts are in first person present tense. The novel explores the relationships between perception and reflection; evidence and certainty; and words, concepts, definitions, and the external world. Winter Park, too, is supposed to be dark and funny. “Consciousness in Fiction” is an investigation into the structures of human consciousness and the various ways in which those structures appear in select literature. In the essay, I compare the various presentations of consciousness in Ulysses (Joyce), As I Lay Dying (Faulkner), Jealousy (Robbe-Grillet), and American Genius (Lynne Tillman) with a model of consciousness derived from philosophy (Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty), psychology (James), and contemporary cognitive science (Noë and Baars).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN Literature (General)