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Semi-Peripheral Realism: Nation and Form on the Borders of Europe

Hazzard, C (2020) Semi-Peripheral Realism: Nation and Form on the Borders of Europe. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Despite its crucial function within the global capitalist system, the semi-periphery has received relatively little critical attention within the burgeoning field of world literature. As a transitional space between the core and the periphery, the semi-periphery is particularly sensitive to the economic, social and cultural uneveness of the world-system, making it invaluable for understanding the transformations and crises of capitalism. This thesis therefore explores the form and aesthetics of semi-peripheral literature by comparing a selection of novels from the borders of Europe. The study is structured around two case studies, both located on Europe’s continental fringes: the North Atlantic island nations, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and Turkey; a set of very different social and cultural landscapes, which each illustrate a different historical transition to semi-peripherality. Starting in the North Atlantic, the first part of the thesis will explore the form and structures of colonial domination in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and will consider how the systematic underdevelopment of both nations has impacted the peripheral nationalist aesthetics in the works of Halldór Laxness and William Heinesen. Expanding the project’s comparative scope to Turkey, the second part considers how the history of imperial decline and nation-building in the twentieth century are reflected in Orhan Pamuk and Latife Tekin’s semi-peripheral city- and borderscapes. Together the two sections cover different, but overlapping aspects of semi-peripherality, including the overdetermination of historical consciousness; the thematisation of language and translation; and the dialectical tension between ‘local’ and ‘global’ perspectives, which in different ways shape the particular aesthetics of semi-peripheral literature. Through comparative analysis of how each text mediates the distinct political, economic, cultural and social relations of the semi-periphery, this thesis argues that the conflicts and contradictions of the capitalist system are registered with particular intensity in the spaces that make up the semi-periphery, resulting in an antinomic literary aesthetic which testifies both to the unevenness of the capitalist world-system and to the radical potential of the semi-periphery as a space for political and social transformation. This project thereby engages in current debates about the intersections of postcolonial, comparative and world-literature and contributes to mapping literary registrations of the capitalist world-system.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: World-literature, postcolonialism, marxism, Nordic literature, Turkish literature, semi-periphery
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Date Deposited: 13 May 2020 09:45
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2022 15:01
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00012924
Supervisors: O Donghaile, D, Menozzi, F and Norquay, G
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12924
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