Richard Yates: re-writing postwar American culture

McGinley, Rory Mackay (2016) Richard Yates: re-writing postwar American culture. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis explores the fiction of American author Richard Yates to propose that his work provides an insistent questioning and alternative vision of postwar American culture. Such an approach is informed by a revisionist account of four distinct yet interconnected areas of postwar culture: the role of the non-heroic soldier stepping in and out of World War II; suburbanisation and fashioning of anti-suburban performance; demarcation of gender roles and unraveling of sexual conservatism in the 1950s; consideration of what constituted the normative within postwar discourse and representations of mental illness in Yates’ work.

These four spheres of interest form the backbone to this study in its combined aim of reclaiming Yates’ fiction in line with a more progressive historical framework while shaping a new critical appreciation of his fiction. Such analysis will be primed by an opening discussion that illustrates how Yates’ fiction has frequently been ensconced in a limited interpretative lens: an approach, that I argue, has kept Yates on the periphery of the canon and ultimately resulted in the neglect of an author who provided a rich, progressive and historically significant dialogue of postwar American life.

This PhD arrives at a point when Yatesian scholarship is finally gaining momentum after the cumulative impact of a comprehensive biography, a faithful film adaptation of his seminal text Revolutionary Road (1961), plus the recent re-issue of his catalogue of work. An assessment as to why he remained on the margins of success for the duration of his career is therefore of pressing interest in light of this recent critical and commercial recognition.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road, postwar American fiction, postwar literature, American realism.
Subjects: E History America > E11 America (General)
E History America > E151 United States (General)
P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Gair, Dr. Christoper
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr Rory McGinley
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7797
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2016 14:06
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2017 14:20

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