TWILIGHT OF THE TOFFS: FALL OF A CASTE, RISE OF A MYTH

Sanchez Fernandez, Carlos (2013) TWILIGHT OF THE TOFFS: FALL OF A CASTE, RISE OF A MYTH. Masters thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Dissertation ABSTRACT:
This dissertation deals with the representation of the interwar upper classes (above
all, the aristocracy) in the contemporary English novel. I have chosen three novels
for my study: Ian McEwan‟s Atonement (2001), Kazuo Ishiguro‟s The Remains of
the Day (1989) and Evelyn Waugh‟s Brideshead Revisited (1945).
My main critical perspective is a structuralist one, namely that of Roland Barthes in
his Mythologies (1956). I show how, notwithstanding the period in which they were
written, their aesthetic orientation, or their authors‟ personal stand concerning their
society, the chosen novels, spanning six decades, can be analyzed by applying the
same „figures of myth‟, according to Barthes‟s terminology.
To facilitate a better understanding of this literature, I have also connected it with a
common historical and ideological background, that of the interwar period.
Moreover, as Barthes‟s ideological stand is a Marxist one, if heterodoxically so, I
will be relating the novels to a number of Marxist concepts, such as hegemony,
dominant and residual cultures, or false consciousness. Concepts from other fields of
contemporary intellectual history, such as psychoanalysis, will also be featured for
the same purpose. Finally, I have also given a prominent role to social history in my
analysis.
My main conclusion will be that myth has superseded factual representation of the
traditional landed aristocracy, turning it into a category that is still operative in the
domain of fiction, informing the international reading public‟s views of British
society and culture, even after the historical demise of that social class.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2014 13:01
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2014 13:01
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/47932
DOI:

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