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The Authorship Question and the Rise of Postmodernist Fiction: From Madness to Agency

ARYAN, ARYA (2018) The Authorship Question and the Rise of Postmodernist Fiction: From Madness to Agency. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Questions of authorship in fiction and theory merit special research treatment because, as Andrew Bennett argues, "[l]iterary theory . . . is largely a question of author theory" (Bennett The Author 4). Not only does this study disclose and examine different functions and concepts of authorship in fiction and theory from the 1950s and 1960s to the present, but it also reveals, at least implicitly, a trajectory of some of the modes and functions of the novel as a genre in the last few decades. My contention is that the explicit terms of much of the theoretical and philosophical debate surrounding the concept of authorship in the moment of High Theory in the 1980s, had already been engaged, albeit often more implicitly, in literary fictions, by writers themselves, including Jorge Luis Borges, Samuel Beckett, John Fowles, Vladimir Nabokov, Muriel Spark, Doris Lessing, and Sylvia Plath. This thesis examines the fortunes of the authorship debate and the conceptualisations and functions of authorship both before, during, and after the Death of the Author came to prominence as one of the key foci for the moment of High Theory in the 1980s. The thesis examines how, rather than postmodern fiction being driven by the theoretical turn, such debate has been intrinsic to fiction and in particular to the fiction of the post-war years. Writers such as Borges, Beckett and Fowles began to problematise the concept of authorship; later novelists such as Rushdie, Coetzee, Mantel, in turn fought back against the killing-off of the author by critics and theoreticians, finding their own agency and a reconceptualisation of authorship in the age of the supposed demise of the author.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Oct 2018 14:17

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