The Eden of mind in contemporary fiction

Bishop, Patricia (1981) The Eden of mind in contemporary fiction. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The Eden of mind means in the context of this examination the self-conscious efforts of contemporary writers to seek freedom in the pattern of words and to find it by articulating aesthetic consciousness as a supreme reality. The term ludic fiction is introduced as a useful unifying concept for the lexical playground of Nabokov, Barth, Fowles, Borges, Coover, and Pynchon. It postulates the re-creation of an Edenic world in the games and play of language. Chapter One offers a synopsis of the literary, philosophical, and linguistic movements directly important for ludic fiction. Chapter Two traces the origins and use of the Edenic myth and its application in the contemporary instance as a source of play and freedom. An attempt is made critically to examine and evaluate the weaknesses of play fiction, its tendency toward triviality and solipsism, and to scrutinize the opposing criticism. With a detailed textual examination of game, garden, and nature motifs, this study shoves the transference of a geographic Eden to the fertility of the creative mind. Through a close analysis of Lolita, Ada, "Lost in the Funhouse," The Sot-Weed Factor, The Magus, the fictions of Borges, The Universal Baseball Association, J. Henry Waugh, Prop., and The Crying of Lot 49, this thesis notes both the success and failure of ludic fiction in offering postlapsarian man the free play of mind, the force with which to transcend entropy for the aesthetic instant. The dissertation concludes that the play of ludic fiction becomes finally not hermetic but social as it adumbrates the potential for unalienated existence.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: John AM Rillie
Keywords: Comparative literature
Date of Award: 1981
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1981-72776
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72776

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