Kilea and a critical, reflective essay on Virginia Woolf's The Common Reader and To The Lighthouse, James Joyce's Ulysses and Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea

McClory Dunbar, Helen Laura (2010) Kilea and a critical, reflective essay on Virginia Woolf's The Common Reader and To The Lighthouse, James Joyce's Ulysses and Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis consists of two parts: a creative work and a reflective, critical essay. The creative work is a novel, entitled Kilea after the central character, who is a young girl brought to a Scottish island by a man she calls Father. The girl is haunted by visions of spirits, called ‘schie’, and by their music, by her feelings of being an outsider, and by a metaphysical confusion and anxiety that grows as she develops. Kilea was originally modelled on Heliodorus’ the Aethiopika, a work of late Hellenistic fiction. However, while writing the chapters which make up the second part of this thesis, I came to realise that the plot of the older novel was not sympathetic with the aims and style I wished to bring to my work, and that my narrative could not follow a journey as the other had; it required to be located in one place only. A singular setting required an increase in detail, an awareness of landscape and how it can be salted with levels of meaning that enliven the language and support characterisation. The introduction and first chapter of the critical essay lay out the struggle to come to grips with the Aethiopika, and the usefulness of Virginia Woolf’s theories of cultural translation in ‘On Not Knowing Greek’, an essay in her The Common Reader, as well as how and why Woolf enacted the transmutation of setting in To the Lighthouse from a nostalgia-tainted Cornwall to a neutral, but unfamiliar place, Skye. Chapter Two addresses James Joyce’s Ulysses in a similar vein, though the style of this chapter is impersonal, lacking the ‘I’ of the rest of the critical essay. This decision was made to reflect the analytical, less personally reflective approach towards Joyce’s cultural reshift of the Odyssey from the Mediterranean to a time specific, linguistically energised Dublin. The last chapter examines Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea through the lens of feminism, with an awareness of Rhys’s antagonistic views of ‘Women’s Lib’. It notes how fate and foreknowledge of fate imbue the characters of the novel with a heaviness and fatality regardless of their gender. This is compared with Kilea, in which I wished to leave open a sense of possibility, in terms of the turns of plot, the physical qualities of the landscape and the presence, or imagined presence of the dead.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available once any embargo periods have expired.
Keywords: Creative writing, English literature, novel.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Schmidt, Prof. Michael
Date of Award: 2010
Depositing User: Ms Helen Laura McClory Dunbar
Unique ID: glathesis:2010-1425
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2010
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 12:40
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.1425

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