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Journeys through Architecture: the Body, Spaces, and Arts in Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage

WONG, YONG,YI (2017) Journeys through Architecture: the Body, Spaces, and Arts in Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The inter-arts potential of Dorothy Miller Richardson’s life’s work, Pilgrimage, has been gaining critical attention since the end of the twentieth century, with continuous scholarly efforts dedicated in revealing the cinematic, painterly, and musical depths of the novel sequence. Building on such established foundation, this study responds to this inter-arts call of Richardson scholarship by taking an architectural turn, and contends Pilgrimage as a piece of architectural construct—a literary work that demonstrates the coming together of the body, spaces, and arts.
Interdisplinary in nature, this study draws on diverse fields of inquiry in its configuration of the architectural as manifested in Pilgrimage, with two interconnecting sections. Merleau-Ponty’s perceptual phenomenology and recent theorisations of body-space interaction in various disciplines, such as cultural geography and anthropology, underpin the first section of the discussion, which attempts to explicate the spatial significance implied in Miriam’s (the protagonist) sensuous interactions with the different kinds of space around or within her. While the first section underscores how the art of literature embodies Miriam’s sensuous-spatial dynamics, the second section illuminates how the spatial arts of painting and architecture come into contact with Pilgrimage. Collaborating biographical, painterly, literary, and phenomenological approaches, the thesis considers the sequence’s manoeuver over the issues of simultaneity, instaneity, moment, and subject matter as the manifestation of literary impressionism. After contemplating Pilgrimage as a piece of literary impressionism, the discussion concludes by considering the sequence as a piece of haptic architecture, with the notion of ‘fragile architecture’ formulated by Juhani Pallasmaa. By re-examining how Miriam’s body, spaces, and arts interact and integrate throughout Pilgrimage, the thesis aspires to bring to light its architectural disposition.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Modernism, Dorothy M. Richardson, Phenomenology, Inter-arts, Space and Place, the Body, Architecture, Literary Impressionism, Twentieth-Century Literature
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:31 May 2017 10:06

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