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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

In the Garden of the Soul
by LaFaye, Alexandria R. T., Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2015, 189; 10003712
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation opens with a critical introduction on the “sur-realismo” of historical fantasy that expands the paradigm for the genre offered by Ramon Saldivar in “Historical Fantasy, Speculative Realism, and Postrace Aesthetics in Contemporary American Fiction”. The examination of Fanny Billingsley’s Chime (2012), Charles deLint’s Widdershins (2007), Neal Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013), and Alice Hoffman’s Green Heart (2012) demonstrates how historical fantasy can use “historiographic metafiction”, transcendental buffoonery, and the “commodification of sadness” to interrogate socially accepted constructions of history, spirituality, and gender and offer more opportunities for culturally based self-definition through a questioning of the literary aesthetics that blend history, fantasy, and realism. The introduction is followed by the novel In the Garden of the Soul, which is an historical fantasy that attempts to emulate the cultural agenda and genre innovations of the four novels examined in the introduction. This novel chronicles the battle of five witches fighting to prevent the overtaking of a portal between heaven and hell within an ancestral manse in a small New England village in the nineteenth century.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fox, Wilalrd
Commitee: Dorwick, Keith, Richard, Charles
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 77/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Creative writing, Literature
Keywords: Cultural representation, Gender, Historical fantasy, History, Novel, Spirituality
Publication Number: 10003712
ISBN: 978-1-339-42824-6
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