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Title: The failed quest in contemporary world literature
Author: Borg Cardona, Karen
ISNI:       0000 0004 8497 8750
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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The last two decades have witnessed a series of spectacular failures which have had severe and widespread global consequences, from the global financial and banking crisis, to the rising threat of climate change, to increasing global wealth inequity. Within academic scholarship, however, failure has often been conceptualised on the level of the individual. This has resulted in a narrow focus on the failed individual and how the individual copes and negotiates with failure, while overlooking its broader causes. In order to address this issue, my thesis approaches failure as a method of characterising global and localised systems and institutions. I identify a sense of global failure which I define as comprising global inequality, economic crisis, and ecological disaster, which informs and is informed by failures specific to localised contexts. I shall define the localised failures in relation to the four novels that constitute my corpus: Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost, Julia Kristeva's Possessions, and Basma Abdel Aziz's The Queue. I have selected the quest narrative as an ideal vehicle through which to examine failure, due to its particular association with success and its long tradition of adaptability to changing concerns. Being an extremely goal-oriented genre, quest narratives often depict an individual hero, his journey, and the ultimate achievement of his goal. Therefore, by shifting focus away from the individual and his success, this thesis ultimately explores how the contemporary failed quest can function as critiques of the socio-political conditions that rendered failure inevitable.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature