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Cope & Marsh; &, Making the Past Present and Bringing the Famous Dead to Life: An Investigation into How Margaret Atwood and Peter Carey Engage with History

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dc.contributor.advisor Jackson, Anna
dc.contributor.advisor Williams, Mark
dc.contributor.author Ryan, Ronan
dc.date.accessioned 2013-10-01T20:39:48Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-11-03T00:05:21Z
dc.date.available 2013-10-01T20:39:48Z
dc.date.available 2022-11-03T00:05:21Z
dc.date.copyright 2013
dc.date.issued 2013
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/29343
dc.description.abstract The creative component of my PhD, Cope & Marsh, is a novel about the rivalry between two real-life nineteenth-century American paleontologists, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, who discovered 136 new dinosaur species between them. My most overt theme is hatred and its negative and positive ramifications for these men – it has a corrosive effect on their personal and interior lives but it is the driving force behind their accomplishments too. At its heart, the novel examines the question of what is a life well led? Cope and Marsh manage to be ‘great’ men but not good ones. While the knowledge and sense of wonder produced by their discoveries is to the world’s benefit, they repeatedly fail tests of moral integrity. Another crucial theme is human frailty, particularly in relation to how a sense of self can be threatened and even destabilized by humiliation. Cope and Marsh, with their swollen egos and their dispositions towards obsessiveness, are especially vulnerable in this regard. The novel features a large cast of characters, whose lives provide parallels to Cope and Marsh’s, and has a wide scope. The weight of history and accumulated individual experiences is juxtaposed against the pressing desires and quickening pulses of my characters in their immediate moments. The critical component is called ‘Making the Past Present and Bringing the Famous Dead to Life: An Investigation into How Margaret Atwood and Peter Carey Engage with History’. In light of having had similar preoccupations in writing my own historical novel, I explore Atwood’s and Carey’s approach to fictionalizing real people and historical settings in Alias Grace and True History of the Kelly Gang. Devised in adherence to a series of rules Atwood set herself, Alias Grace tells the tale of convicted murder Grace Marks, capitalizing on the ambiguity of memory and storytelling while paying meticulous attention to the minutiae of daily life. In True History, Carey demonstrates a looser, more irreverent, attitude in his recreation of the life of the iconic Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly, using the inevitable outcome to his advantage and employing a daringly vivacious prose style. I analyze the inherent issues in Atwood’s and Carey’s techniques, with a particular focus on their fidelity to source material, and I explain what influence their novels had on the construction of Cope & Marsh. en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.rights This thesis is not available. For further information please contact the Library. en_NZ
dc.subject Atwood en_NZ
dc.subject Carey en_NZ
dc.subject Hatred en_NZ
dc.title Cope & Marsh; &, Making the Past Present and Bringing the Famous Dead to Life: An Investigation into How Margaret Atwood and Peter Carey Engage with History en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.contributor.unit School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 190402 Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting) en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 200502 Australian Literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature) en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 200506 North American Literature en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 200526 Stylistics and Textual Analysis en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcseo 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Doctoral Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.discipline English Literature en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en_NZ
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy en_NZ

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