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Title: Metafiction, historiography, and mythopoeia in the novels of John Fowles
Authors: Buchberger, Michelle
Advisors: Tew, P
Hubble, N
Keywords: Post modernism;Women in 1950s-60s British fiction;Modernism and post modernism;Post World War II British fiction;Language and meaning
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Brunel University School of Arts PhD Theses
Abstract: This thesis concerns the novelist John Fowles and analyses his seven novels in the order in which they were written. The study reveals an emergent artistic trajectory, which has been variously categorized by literary critics as postmodern. However, I suggest that Fowles's work is more complex and significant than such a reductive and simplistic label would suggest. Specifically, this study argues that Fowles's work contributes to the reinvigoration of the novel form by a radical extension of the modernist project of the literary avant-garde, interrogating various conventions associated with both literary realism and the realism of the literary modernists while still managing to evade a subjective realism. Of particular interest to the study is Fowles's treatment of his female characters, which evolves over time, indicative of an emergent quasi-feminism. This study counters the claims of many contemporary literary critics that Fowles's work cannot be reconciled with any feminist ideology. Specifically, I highlight the increasing centrality of Fowles's female characters in his novels, accompanied by a growing focus on the mysterious and the uncanny. Fowles's work increasingly associates mystery with creativity, femininity, and the mythic, suggests that mystery is essential for growth and change, both in society and in the novel form itself, and implies that women, rather than men, are naturally predisposed to embrace it. Fowles's novels reflect a worldview that challenges an over-reliance on the empirical and rational to the exclusion of the mysterious and the intuitive. I suggest that Fowles's novels evince an increasingly mythopoeic realism, constantly testing the limits of what can be apprehended and articulated in language, striving towards a realism that is universal and transcendent.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Docter of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:English and Creative Writing
Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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