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Title: Theme and technique in Steve Erickson's fiction
Author: Randles, L. P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 2232
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2019
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The aim of this thesis is to explore the different narrative techniques used in Steve Erickson's fiction and thereby to rectify the critical neglect of his works. Despite being acclaimed by a number of esteemed contemporaries such as Jonathan Lethem and Thomas Pynchon, as well as being the recipient of several prestigious literary awards, the paucity of critical works relating to him remains something of a mystery. A notable contrast emerges in this respect, in the fact that Erickson has given a significant number of interviews to a wide-range of publications since the release of his debut novel Days Between Stations (1985). This would suggest that there is wider interest in Erickson's literature, despite the fact that this has failed to translate into comprehensive critical examination of his work. This thesis will analyse the different experimental techniques and methods used in Erickson's novels. A stylistically-arresting writer whose work often blurs the boundaries of different genre forms, Erickson's interests lie in four particular areas: depictions of endings, the development of the American national consciousness, representations of the process of film, and the implicit relationship between character and setting. Themes recurrent throughout Erickson's work-such as the fallibility of memory and the changeable state of interpersonal relationships-are often channelled through these interests, resulting in literature of distinctive, challenging nature. Erickson's background and media influences will be explored in order to assess how his creative conceptions have been shaped. Having both a personal and professional interest in film through his secondary career as a journalist, Erickson's fascination with the medium representing an affecting experience will be discussed. A notable result of this influence is the presence of different film techniques used to frame and structure his narrative. Erickson's numerous past interviews and his two non-fiction books, Leap Year (1989) and American Nomad (1997), will be drawn upon in order to identify a number of recurring preoccupations. Attempts will also be made to locate Erickson in both a postmodern context and in a literary tradition associative of his home city of Los Angeles for purposes of directing future criticism in potentially intriguing directions. Through identification of the themes and techniques in Erickson's novels, this thesis will argue that he is a writer worthy of rigorous critical study.
Supervisor: Seed, David ; Ferraro, Julian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral