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Reconstructing the past in the academic novel : the concept of nostalgia in Thatcher Britain

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Reconstructing the past in the academic novel : the concept of nostalgia in Thatcher Britain

Murphy, Arin (2000) Reconstructing the past in the academic novel : the concept of nostalgia in Thatcher Britain. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the effects of the British Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher upon the portrayal of the past and the use of nostalgia in academic novels of the period. After situating the economic status of higher education during the early Thatcher era, and examining the academic novel as a genre, attention shifts to a study of Graham Swift's Waterland , A. S. Byatt's Possession , and David Lodge's Nice Work . It is demonstrated that these authors each reacted to the Thatcher environment by addressing such questions as, "Will I still have a job?" and "Will I still be necessary?" in response to the academic and economic environments of the time. By tracing the use of nostalgia within these works, and comparing it to the official Thatcher-endorsed nostalgia, the thesis explores how the humanities' conception of history and the past are revealed as necessary in order to enable the public to forge a sustaining personal connection between the present and the past. Ultimately, it can be shown that only by uniting the economic sphere and the academic humanities can enriching progress occur in either realm, and this is the solution offered by these authors in response to the Thatcherite use of nostalgia for the nineteenth century as incentive for modern economic success.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Murphy, Arin
Pagination:iv, 99 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:English
Date:2000
Thesis Supervisor(s):Decoste, Marcel
ID Code:1012
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:16
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:18
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