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Title: Viking Fire : a practical and theoretical exploration of the historical novel
Author: Hill, Justin
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 6935
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This PhD thesis consists of part of historical novel, Viking Fire, and an accompanying critical thesis. The novel recounts the life of Harald Sigurdson, King of Norway (c. 1015 - 25 September 1066) better known by his posthumous nickname Harald Hardrada. The work was published by Little, Brown, on September 22nd, 2016 and was selected by The Times as one of their Books of the Year, 2016. The critical essay will follow the novel. It is structured into four chapters. Chapter One will explain the initial inspiration for the series of novels and will examine how I navigated the major sources for the period and combined them with non-contemporaneous material in my creative process. Chapter Two will provide the theoretical framework for this thesis, reviewing some of the major theoretical modellings of the historical novel, address how the historical novel fits into a larger body of historical writing, and how the historical novel negotiates the patchy historical record. Chapter Three is designed to illustrate and explore further some of the theoretical models related in Chapter Two and, more importantly, to allow me to trace, selectively, some of the literary-historical developments of the historical novel in Britain, how the selected novelists responded to what might be called 'the historical sublime', how they brought a sense of verisimilitude to their work, and how they represented their own research for their novels. Chapter Four is a personal essay which deals at length with my aims and inspiration as a writer, the positioning of the novel, how I created a fictional Harald Hardrada, and the linguistic choices I made for the novel. Finally, this chapter will examine how this critical thesis informed the creative part of this thesis, and altered my own reaction to the historical sublime, that is the effect produced by the lack of evidence that the past presents to us.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral