Gender, culture and social change in the fiction of Margaret Drabble

Rashid, Talla A. (2018) Gender, culture and social change in the fiction of Margaret Drabble. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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Abstract

This thesis, which is feminist and historicist in its methodological approaches, explores the social, cultural and political circumstances in which Margaret Drabble's nineteen novels were produced by using close textual reading to position her novels in their historical context. The core objective of this thesis is to establish the relationship between Drabble's fiction and the changing face of English society since 1960s. This is in addition to her literary exploration of some global issues that were of concern to Drabble, being an opponent of many aspects of British and American foreign policy including the Iraq War and a supporter of the rights to self-determination of the Kurdish people; the context in which l first came across both her discursive writing and her fiction in Kurdish northern Iraq. This thesis is divided into five chapters which deal with the fiction broadly chronologically with the exception of chapter four. Chapter one deals with the first five novels of Drabble by putting them in historical context of the 1960s, which are A Summer Bird-cage (1963), The Garrick Year (1964), The Millstone (1965), Jerusalem the Golden (1967), and The Waterfall (1969). Chapter two presents Drabble as a ‘condition of England’ novelist analysing the representation of modern Britain in The Needle's Eye (1972), The Realms of Gold (1975), The Ice Age (1977), The Middle Ground (1980) and The Radiant Way (1987). Chapter three deals with the influence of Arnold Bennett on Drabble's writing and his attitudes to provincial life. Additionally, it demonstrates how Drabble moves from local issues to global crises in A Natural Curiosity (1989) and The Gates of Ivory (1991). Chapter four is concerned with literary influences that have been important to Drabble and considers the critic F. R. Leavis, the poet William Wordsworth, and the novelists Jane Austen, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf and Doris Lessing. Chapter five deals with The Witch of Exmoor (1996), The Peppered Moth (2000), The Seven Sisters (2002), The Red Queen (2004), The Sea Lady (2006), The Pure Gold Baby (2013) and The Dark Flood Rises (2016) and brings together different themes and concerns which have already dealt with in Drabble's earlier novels. This thesis takes issue with some common misperceptions of Drabble as being a ‘Hampstead novelist,’ an old-fashioned realist, and a ‘women's writer’. My thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge by providing an up-to-date overview and critical account of all Drabble's novels beginning with the 1960s and taking the reader up to the present.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Condition-of-England novels, Postwar Britain, Motherhood, Misperception of Drabble as being a Hampstead novelist
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 12:39
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:56
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/706781

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