Towards an anthropology of literature: the magic of hybrid fictions

Aniballi, Francesca (2013) Towards an anthropology of literature: the magic of hybrid fictions. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Anthropology and literary criticism can interact fruitfully in the investigation of theoretical, general and specific issues concerning literature. Anthropological concepts of magic and ritual are useful to account for those fictions which defy neat labels and sit at the crossroad between the fantastic and the mimetic impulses. Furthermore, the reading process of such fictions can be interpreted as a liminal experience, whereby the reader’s consciousness is ritualized. Adopting a phenomenological stance and a socio-anthropological methodology, the thesis presents the author’s auto-ethnography of reading, also integrating the latest findings of cognitive linguistics and psychology of fiction into the theoretical reflection. Other conceptual tools, such as ideas concerning performative language, the hero quest and epiphany, metaphor and symbolism, are elaborated in order to illustrate the reading of ‘hybrid’ fictions, and how the reader is actively involved in the process. Moreover, three sample novels are analysed in the light of concepts of magic from a thematic and structural point of view, as texts which posit the issue of the de-reification of the real and of the imagination itself as a critique of the discourses of modernity. Overall the thesis supports an ecological view of the (literary) imagination, conceived as a relational process whereby nature and culture are seen as co-extensive and not in opposition to each other.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: comparative literature, anthropology of literature, hybrid fictions, magic, myth, ritual
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Comparative Literature
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Martin, Dr. Laura and Davies, Prof. Laurence and Morris, Dr. Penelope
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Francesca Aniballi
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4306
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 May 2013 09:00
Last Modified: 25 May 2016 09:59
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/4306

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