The Dragon in the Mirror, a novel, with Stepping Through the Mirror, a critical reflection on writing and revising a feminist portal-quest fantasy

Keaton, Andrew Corbin (2019) The Dragon in the Mirror, a novel, with Stepping Through the Mirror, a critical reflection on writing and revising a feminist portal-quest fantasy. DFA thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information:


Portal-quest fantasies are fantasy novels that involve a character from one world traveling through a portal to another, and subsequently going on a quest which often follows the pattern of the hero's journey as described by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Such narratives are common in young-adult (YA) fiction as metaphors for the process of growing up and learning the responsibilities of adulthood. My own YA portal-quest fantasy, The Dragon in the Mirror, is both a response and a challenge to other writers in the genre, my own attempt to avoid that writerly inertia which can cause the unthinking reproduction of tropes and motifs (whether harmful or just cliché) presented in previously published works. Re-reading fantasy texts which I first experienced as a child, in addition to texts I only encountered as an adult, I use an intersectional feminist framework to analyze the broad ranges of similarities between many of the worlds--Eurocentric, White, male, heteronormative--as well as the occasional instances of innovative or radical concepts. I explore the process of writing my own YA fantasy novel as a method of practice as research into the undiscovered details of my own secondary world, and how the multiple drafts and revisions, and years of writing, has been a way for me to learn by doing--learning to resist the thoughtless repetition of the underrepresentation and misrepresentation I absorbed from fantasy texts and the broader American culture as a child. In the end, I discuss this combination of research and exploration and how it forms the foundation of the active, conscious choices I made in the crafting of my own secondary world, with a close attention to the process of world-building, so as to highlight the radical potential of the form.

Item Type: Thesis (DFA)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: creative writing, fantasy literature, young adult, portal-quest fantasy, intersectional feminism, practice as research, multimodality.
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies
Supervisor's Name: Maslen, Dr. Robert
Date of Award: 2019
Embargo Date: 10 June 2025
Depositing User: Dr Sarah Tytler
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-73040
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2019 13:13
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2022 11:31
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.73040

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