Narrative, social myth and reality in contemporary Scottish and Irish women's writing: Kennedy, Lochhead, Bourke, Ni Dhuibhne and Carr

Balinisteanu, Mihai Tudor (2007) Narrative, social myth and reality in contemporary Scottish and Irish women's writing: Kennedy, Lochhead, Bourke, Ni Dhuibhne and Carr. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with narrative constructions of women's identities in texts by contemporary Scottish and Irish women writers. I focus on texts by A. L. Kennedy, Liz Lochhead, Angela Bourke, Éilís Ní Dhubhne and Marina Carr. The theoretical framework of my analysis has been inspired by these writers' concerns with the relationship between narrative and reality. An important idea derived from the study of this relationship is that one's voice often, if not always, accommodates others' voices and is modulated by the power they convey. This power, derived from traditions that naturalise legitimate subjectivity constructs, steers and disciplines narrators, characters borne in these narrators' voices, as well as to whom they speak, readers or other characters, affecting the representations of the realities they inhabit. In my thesis, I examine literary explorations of the power through which narratives voices operate to constitute identities. The vision of voice as necessarily accommodating others' voices has suggested the use of Bakhtin's theories of heteroglossia in my analyses. The idea that an other's voice speaks in one's voice has sent me to Derrida's theory of citationality and to Judith Butler's theory of discursive reiteration and subjectivity. Regarding the act of narrating as an act of citation, I examine the role of narratives in shaping identity by providing subject positions derived form a citational chain of stories. The analysis of the relationship between narrative and reality undertaken in this thesis is interdisciplinary, involving elements of narratology theory, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology and social theory. The main argument can be summarised thus: myth is a manifestation of authority in the discursive acts through which we present ourselves to ourselves and to others in social reality. These discursive acts are to an extent acts of citation that reiterate subjective identities which, through this reiteration, have become naturalised, normative and constraining. The kind of subject they constitute is produced at the expense of alternative possibilities of cultural expression.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Miss Louise Annan
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-6273
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2015 07:36
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2015 07:36
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/6273

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