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Durham e-Theses
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Real romance came out of dreamland into life H. G. Wells as a romancer

Choi, Yoonjoung (2007) Real romance came out of dreamland into life H. G. Wells as a romancer. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The aim of this study is to demonstrate that Wells's early works are the supreme fruits of his ambiguous and complicated reaction against, and interaction with, romance and realism in fiction. Wells's efforts concentrate on combating against and, at the same time, capitalising on the popular narratives that flooded the expanding fin-de-siècle mass market and the powerful influence of the continental and American Realists. In so doing, Wells eventually purports to revive and modify the English novel tradition from Chaucer to Scott and Dickens, and the romantic transformation of everyday life without losing a sense of reality. By reading Wells's fictional and non-fictional works published between the 1890s and the 1900s, this thesis maintains that Wells is a novelist who could exploit romance contingencies in his fiction Wells's early literary criticism demonstrates that his theory of the novel is preoccupied with the potential of the romance rather than with the strict realistic representation of everyday life advocated by Naturalists and Realists. His non-scientific romances reveal Wells's instinctive grasp of the romance potential Wells's major scientific romances confirm his effort in writing within the established romance grammar and deconstruct the forms and themes of fìn-de-siècle popular romances. Mikhail Bakhtin's theory of carnivalism and Foucaulťs theory of power are also applied to Wells's texts. This study contends that Wells's major scientific romances not only differentiate themselves from other popular narratives but also create a new genre: the carnivalesque romance. Wells's early twentieth century Utopian projects continue the carnival theme, and develop the carnivalised narrative space in which the sociologist's logical speculation is mixed with the romancer’s dream. Reading Wells's Edwardian novels, Tono-Bungay and The History of Mr Polly as marking a turning point in his literary career, the thesis advocates that when Wells ceased to be a romancer, his creative energy began to wane.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:33

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