Darkness visible: an exploration of recurrence

Holden, K 2009, Darkness visible: an exploration of recurrence, Masters by Research, Creative Media, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Darkness visible: an exploration of recurrence
Author(s) Holden, K
Year 2009
Abstract The project, Darkness Visible: An exploration of recurrence, comprises two parts: an original novel, entitled ‘The Sacrifice’, and an exegesis, titled ‘Breaking Bread with the Dead: Time fantasy, recurrence and The Owl Service’.

The novel, ‘The Sacrifice’, concerns two young female Australian protagonists who go to live in contemporary ruralEngland. The elder suffers a marriage breakdown and subsequent isolation and grief; the younger, an adolescent, explores her sexuality with an ambiguous youth, and, entranced by local folklore and myth, discovers new aspects of her own psychology and capacity. It is in the tradition of young adult time fantasy literature, with a dimension of high modernist interiority.

The exegesis, ‘Darkness Visible’, opens with a discussion of time fantasy fiction for young adults, and opening remarks about the significance of nostalgia and haunting in modern literature. The main body of the exegesis explores notions of time and recurrence through (a) a reading of Freud’s essay ‘The Uncanny’ and other psychoanalytic ideas about haunting, nostalgia and return, and (b) mythopoeics, mythic time and the concept of the Eternal Return as promoted by Mircea Eliade. Both of these discussions focus on Alan Garner’s 1967 novel The Owl Service and read into it possible negotiations of haunting and cyclical time in terms of the featured theories. I argue that Garner’s novel may be interpreted as exemplifying both Freud’s ‘Uncanny’, that is, an eerie and possibly pathological compulsion towards return, and Eliade’s mythic time, which evokes a fatalistic cyclical gambit of temporality and, in the case of Garner’s novel, specifically the re-enactment of myth. The novel also appears to offer possibilities for either escaping, or reconciling with, these apparently oppressive phenomena.

The exegesis also features an extensive bibliography, a discussion of terms and a brief history of British time fantasy fiction.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Creative Media
Keyword(s) Alan Garner
nostalgia
Mircea Eliade
The Owl Service
return
haunting
myth
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Created: Wed, 27 Jun 2012, 16:32:47 EST by Guy Aron
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