Glasgow Theses Service

Grass, Winter park & Consciousness in fiction

Guest, Graham Emory (2012) Grass, Winter park & Consciousness in fiction. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

This thesis is in four parts: a brief Introduction; a novella, Grass; a novel, Winter Park; and a critical essay, “Consciousness in Fiction”. The Introduction explains why Grass, Winter Park, and “Consciousness in Fiction” together form a cohesive and integrated thesis; the chief reason is a shared concern with consciousness, i.e., perception and reflection. Grass is a coming-of-age story about a boy and his lawnmower (and his edger) set in East Texas in the nineteen-seventies. It is written from the perspective of its protagonist, Henry, in first person present tense, but there are no moments of internal reflection, only perception, leading one to wonder whether there is something wrong with Henry. The story’s sparse style is inspired by Robbe-Grillet’s Jealousy and is intended to allow for maximum reader engagement and creativity. Grass is also supposed to be funny, albeit darkly. Winter Park is a tale of two unlikely friends: Eric Swanson - a drug-addled philosopher from Colorado who suspects he has committed some terrible misdeed, and Harris Birdsong - an epileptic, synaesthetic savant from the deep south who has memorized a dictionary. The two meet at a rodeo college penal camp in West Texas called Dude Ranch, where their friendship develops and their individual philosophic and romantic dreams begin to materialize. Part I of the novel is from Swanson’s perspective; Part II through the end, from Birdsong’s; both Parts are in first person present tense. The novel explores the relationships between perception and reflection; evidence and certainty; and words, concepts, definitions, and the external world. Winter Park, too, is supposed to be dark and funny. “Consciousness in Fiction” is an investigation into the structures of human consciousness and the various ways in which those structures appear in select literature. In the essay, I compare the various presentations of consciousness in Ulysses (Joyce), As I Lay Dying (Faulkner), Jealousy (Robbe-Grillet), and American Genius (Lynne Tillman) with a model of consciousness derived from philosophy (Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty), psychology (James), and contemporary cognitive science (Noë and Baars).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Schmidt, Prof. Michael and Reeder, Dr. Elizabeth
Date of Award: 2012
Embargo Date: 2 July 2015
Depositing User: Graham E Guest
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3500
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2012
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:07
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/3500

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