Character poetics in the contemporary crime fiction series and a series novel: Dog & Bone

Latimer, Elspeth (2020) Character poetics in the contemporary crime fiction series and a series novel: Dog & Bone. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Character is a key component of the contemporary crime fiction series, but few studies have considered the poetics of character, and how it is constructed. This thesis addresses the gap in current research by establishing the literary techniques and formal devices by which crime series character is both generated and maintained. The series form is reconceived as ‘a meganarrative’, a methodology which prompts new insights, and underlines that ‘series character’ can reside in the protagonist and setting – Rebus and Edinburgh being prime examples. The thesis comprises creative and critical research. The creative study is an original work of fiction, Dog & Bone, which investigates the poetics through practice, and innovates the genre with book two of a series about an ageing hitman and his dog. The critical study establishes new theory on series character in contemporary crime fiction. The core poetics is defined in chapter one, via an examination of the series protagonist. Chapter two investigates the inevitable masculinity of this poetics, then explores how it can be inflected and challenged by feminine patterns. Chapter three augments the core poetics to include place as a character, and shows that this expanded poetics can also be inflected. The thesis establishes a set of concepts necessary to its arguments, including mythorealism, iterative framing, on-duty/offduty, character density versus transformation, gendering of temporal progression, narrative mirroring, charactericity of place. Author interviews are cited alongside comparative readings of series by Ian Rankin, Lee Child, Liza Marklund, Tana French. The thesis findings are situated with respect to studies on series/serial/transtextual character and also setting, referencing scholarship on literature and TV, from crime and other genres. Existing ideas are challenged and a new poetics is proposed, reflecting the distinct properties of crime series character, human and topographic. Via creative-critical research, this thesis radically revises current understanding of the contemporary crime fiction series.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing (former - to 2011)
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2022 12:45
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2022 12:45


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