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Title: Keeper : a novel ; and, Critical reflection on historical fiction as a genre
Author: Stocker, Bryony D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 2255
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2018
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This practice-led PhD thesis consists of two sections: a creative element and critical commentary. 'Keeper' is a historical crime fiction novel. Set in the slums of Regency London, the story is about the effects of trauma on the individual, and gentrification on the community. It looks at what family means for different people, and how the ties of blood and friendship are tested. Both third-person and first-person focalisation are employed, as the story is told from two different perspectives - one that of an injured soldier who is relatively new to the rookery, and the other an orphaned girl who has never seen the world beyond it. The third-person voice is connected to and often overwhelmed by the past, and this is reflected in the use of the past tense, which contrasts with the immediacy of first-person present tense. The narrative utilises the investigation of a murder to scrutinise the development of British society in the early nineteenth century, through a fictional examination of historical events and their social consequences. An author's note provides insight into the research process. The critical commentary explores the origins and theoretical response to the historical novel. The commentary touches on the nineteenth century split between academic history and historical fiction, which promoted an artificial opposition between history and fiction, and discusses the lack of scholarly definitions of the genre. Issues surrounding the classifications that are available are examined, before a new definition is proposed. The practical challenges of the historical novel are explored through interviews with six authors of historical fiction. An analysis of these interview transcripts and Hilary Mantel's Reith Lectures is used to argue that the writers' approach to research, and engagement with sources, demonstrates a working methodology from which aspiring writers may learn.
Supervisor: Goldie, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral