A Book of shadows

Baker, J 2014, A Book of shadows, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Media and Communication, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title A Book of shadows
Author(s) Baker, J
Year 2014
Abstract This project addresses questions surrounding the nature of death and its representation in murder mysteries, and also questions surrounding the points in a murder mystery where a character and the reader are made aware that there is some piece of information, large or small, that is at present unavailable to them. There is an examination of the relationship between death and mystery in detective novels through, firstly, the writing and re-writing of a murder mystery, ‘To Deserve Such Pain’ (hereafter TDSP), involving imaginative projection into the thoughts of a fictional other, and, secondly, readings in post-structural literary theory and post-phenomenological theories of being that specifically rely on the role of death to explain our being-in-the-world and the meaning it provides (or fails to provide) for us. The project evolved through a continuous negotiation, in which each source of knowledge resonated with and enriched the other. Elements of the novel, TDSP, which are examined are: vast features of the natural landscape; literary referencing and allusion and the connotation of an infinite intertext; suggestions of the historical background of a place; notions of empathy and psychological distance, and descriptions of the qualities of light. The construct of the sublime and Emmanuel Levinas’s notion of the il y a are used in an elucidation of the shadowy nature of death and of existence itself. The idea of the shadow is developed as a guiding image for the writing of the novel, where the aim is to create a sense that there are presences only half seen by the reader and half felt by characters. Implicit in the work is a suggestion for a new approach to the study of detective fiction, one which focusses not on endings, solutions and answers, but on information gaps, questions, and mystery. It also suggests further study focussing on the sublime nature of mystery in fiction. 

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Media and Communication
Keyword(s) mystery
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Created: Fri, 25 Jul 2014, 12:26:09 EST by Denise Paciocco
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