Research Repository

‘Kardinia’: a novel and exegesis

Harris, Catherine (2015) ‘Kardinia’: a novel and exegesis. PhD thesis, Victoria University.

[img] Text
HARRIS Catherine - PhD thesis.pdf

Download (1MB)

Abstract

This doctoral thesis is concerned with two interrelated components exploring literary form and style as they relate to the reading and writing of unsympathetic characters. Section one (30%), the analytical written component, examines these themes in light of three novels that have influenced my creative work: The member of the wedding (Carson McCullers), After leaving Mr. Mackenzie (Jean Rhys) and The driver’s seat (Muriel Spark). These novels have all been criticised for formal considerations, often attributed to socio-cultural qualities such as the authors’ gender, ethnicity, and/or personal histories, that inhibit readers’ engagement with the narrative. Rather than looking to reconcile these elements, this exegesis aims to find a theoretical bridge that enables a complementary analysis of the texts without resorting to essentialism. Douglas’s notion of dirt as “matter out of place” and Kristeva’s use of abjection present as useful analytical terms, but key components of their frameworks limit their applicability across place and time. Duschinsky’s “purity discourses” remedies these limitations, incorporating dirt and abjection into a flexible, nonessentialist, ideologically contingent theoretical mechanism. This mechanism is overlaid across Douglas’s three-part description of the process of dirt (from ‘safe’ non-differentiation, to differentiated and ‘dangerous’, to a return to indiscriminate formlessness) allowing a three-part analysis of the novels, whose narrative arcs conform to this same pattern. Section two (70%), ‘Kardinia’ (the creative component), a novel about a young man caught between two worlds, mirrors the three-part structure of the novels from the exegesis (from ‘safe’ dirt, Harry becomes differentiated and ‘dangerous’, before returning to indiscriminate formlessness), intentionally manipulating reader engagement and sympathies, taking a character with an abject status and resolving his trajectory in a story of unexpected salvation and hope. Each of these four novels demands an engagement with the “in-between, the ambiguous and the composite” (Kristeva 1982, p. 4). This engagement challenges the hegemony of a narrative form reliant on easy relateability and comfortable resolutions, thereby contributing to the diversification of our expectations of the role and structure of fiction.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Carson McCullers, Jean Rhys, Muriel Spark, novels, literature, fiction, exegeses, ambiguity, comfort, likeability
Subjects: FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Arts
Depositing User: VU Library
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2017 22:24
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2017 22:35
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/32530
ePrint Statistics: View download statistics for this item

Repository staff only

View Item View Item

Search Google Scholar