Jane Gardam: religious writer

James, Nicola (2016) Jane Gardam: religious writer. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the work of the award-winning contemporary English short story and novel writer Jane Gardam. It proposes that much of her achievement and craft stems from her engagement with religion. It draws on Gardam’s published works from 1971 to 2014 including children’s books and adult novels.

While Gardam has been reviewed widely, there is little serious critical appreciation of her fiction and there are misreadings of the influence of religion in her work. I therefore analyse the religious dimensions of her stories: the language, stylistics and hermeneutic of Gardam’s three religious influences, namely the Anglo-Catholic, Benedictine and Quaker movements and how she sites them within her work. The thesis proposes lectio divina, arguably an ancient form of contemporary reader-response criticism, as a framework to describe the Word’s religious agency when embedded or alluded to in fiction. It also considers and applies critical discussion on the medieval concept of the aevum, a literary religious space. Finally, I suggest that religious writing such as Gardam’s has a place in the as yet unexplored ‘poetic’ strand of Receptive Ecumenism, a new movement that seeks to address reception of the Word between members of different faith communities. Having examined many aspects of Gardam’s writing, its history and potential, I conclude that her achievement owes much to her engagement with particular and divergent forms of religious life and practice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Jane Gardam, English, religious, Christian, fiction, reader response criticism, Word, lectio divina, Anglo-Catholic, Quaker, Benedictine, Receptive Ecumenism.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Jasper, Professor David and Clague, Doctor Julie
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Ms Nicola James
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7628
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2016 10:23
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 15:45
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7628

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