AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Shaping the University Imaginary. Configurations and Refigurations in British Fiction


Institution: Università degli studi di Bergamo
Year: 2014
Keywords: university fiction; campus novel; varsity novel; dramatization; A.S. Byatt; David Lodge; Malcolm Bradbury; L-LIN/10 - Letteratura Inglese
Record ID: 1222870
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10446/30772


The present dissertation stems from the attempt to deal with the literary representations of the university imaginary by focusing on mimesis. My purpose is to analyze the ways in which the university and its images have been addressed and represented in literature. Literary representations of academia find their expression through the configuration of a number of literary forms which I here propose to classify as ‘university fiction’. In the first part of my dissertation I investigate the forms taken by University Fiction in the British context from the 19th century until the second half of the 20th, a period when the genre achieved specific and stable connotations that have been respectively classified as “varsity novel” and “campus novel”. The second part deals with what happens when the university imaginary and its representation go beyond the boundaries of university fiction as a genre. The case study that I propose is constituted by the works of A.S. Byatt. This case study allows me to analyze a different way in which the university imaginary has been configured, a way that is, of course, related to literary genres, but which also goes beyond the typical boundaries of genres as literary constructs. This re-figuration has been explained by resorting to a concept that originally came from theatre and adaptation studies, but which proves to be productive when applied to narrative texts: the concept of ‘dramatization’.