Abstract/Details

Stories of things remote: (Re)placing the self in 19<sup>th</sup>-century adventure fiction


2007 2007

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Abstract (summary)

In this dissertation, I argue that, rather than offering mere escapist distractions from their own troubled societies or simply reinforcing imperial ideologies, adventure novels by Melville, Stevenson, and Conrad directly explore the challenges of maintaining a stable self in the newly globalized spaces of the nineteenth century. Exploring the myriad possibilities of life in colonial spaces, these novels portray the struggles of European and American characters to adjust to the complex spaces of the colonial world. Departing from their relatively homogeneous societies in search of “adventure,” these characters must create new justifying narratives to explain their tenuous lives in the challenging environments that they encounter. Utilizing narrative theory as well as contemporary definitions of space, I analyze the harrowing realities that these novels often present about the costs of failed imperial ideologies and practices on individual selves. Embarking on their adventures with a strong belief in their own moral superiority, these novels' protagonists soon realize, often in shattering ways, that the new world they have entered openly resists the grand narratives they have come to believe. Responding to the collapse of these justifying narratives, these adventurers, both consciously and unconsciously, struggle to fashion new narratives that will allow them to survive. Created as colonial efforts reached their peak in both Britain and the United States, these novels represent a crucial early attempt to imagine identity in the multicultural contexts that colonial efforts produced.

Indexing (details)


Subject
American literature;
British and Irish literature
Classification
0591: American literature
0593: British and Irish literature
Identifier / keyword
Language, literature and linguistics; Adventure; Adventure fiction; Conrad, Joseph; Identity; Imperialism; Melville, Herman; Nineteenth century; Self; Space; Stevenson, Robert Louis
Title
Stories of things remote: (Re)placing the self in 19<sup>th</sup>-century adventure fiction
Author
Hayes, Timothy Scott
Number of pages
186
Publication year
2007
Degree date
2007
School code
0153
Source
DAI-A 68/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780549325451
Advisor
McGowan, John
Committee member
Langbauer, Laurie; Marr, Tim; Moskal, Jeanne; Thompson, James
University/institution
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department
English
University location
United States -- North Carolina
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3289069
ProQuest document ID
304844101
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304844101
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