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Title: Space beyond place : Welsh settings in European fiction, 1900-2010
Author: Les, Christina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 7160
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines the way Wales has been portrayed in European fiction between 1900 and 2010. The research process has revealed that, within seemingly disparate texts, Welsh space appears to be more important than Welsh people, and Wales's physical presence more prominent than its language, history and culture. There is also duality of place and space in these Welsh settings. Wales as a named, known, bordered entity is superficially present, but through this the protagonists gain access to very different, even otherworldly, surroundings. Wales the place therefore seems to be a portal to a certain kind of space, characterised by otherness, liminality and distance. The protagonists, all mainland Europeans, travel there at a troubled point in their lives, and find their own fears and foreignness reflected and intensified in this strange new environment. The corpus comprises four novels, from Germany (Weder Ebbe noch Flut by Jörg Bernig and Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald), Hungary (A Pendragon Legenda, Antal Szerb) and the Netherlands (De Omweg, Gerbrand Bakker), as well as a short story from Germany ('Nicht morgen, nicht gestern', Uwe Timm). The first was published in 1934 (Szerb) and the last in 2010 (Bakker). Welsh settings are used here to access and explore creative space for the imagination, transcendental space above and beyond the familiar, and intimate interior space such as houses and the body. The corpus is therefore approached from a geographical angle, using spatial theories such as psychogeography, Kenneth White's geopoetics, Gaston Bachelard's Poetics of Space and Juhani Pallasmaa's architectural theory. As part of the 'European Travellers to Wales' project, which has highlighted an often-overlooked destination in travel writing studies, this thesis aims to show that Wales has unique appeal for European fiction writers, offering an endlessly malleable setting which is right on the edge and ripe for personalisation.
Supervisor: Tully, Carol Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Wales ; European fiction ; 20th century ; 21st century ; literary setting ; place ; space ; intertextuality