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Emily Heathcote

Research Student, Faculty of Arts

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Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic

Postmodernist Literature and Postmodernist Editing

Research Summary

My research focuses on the challenges of reading postmodern literature and to what extent modern editorial theory can illuminate and resolve these challenges. In bringing postmodern fiction into direct dialogue with contemporary text-editing, my research aims to shed new light on both practices and interrogate what is understood by the term 'postmodernism' as applied to both fiction and editing. My research focuses on three case studies - The Magus by John Fowles, The Unfortunates by B.S. Johnson and Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes - each of which offers a different form of resistance to scholarly annotation.

Two generations separate today's readers from the authors of the first postmodern works, with the result that iconic novels such as 'The Magus' are, for these readers, effectively historical documents. This raises the question as to whether such postmodern fiction now requires the same kind of editorial apparatus as other twentieth-century classics; therefore, my research considers whether what has been termed the 'postmodernist turn' turn in text-editing can act as a possible solution to postmodern literature's becoming historical.

In a wider context, my research considers the challenges of editing postmodern literature and aims to offer a model for future scholars to build upon. My project therefore has two main objectives: to investigate whether modern editorial practice can make postmodern literature more accessible to modern readers; and to interrogate the ways in which postmodern texts 'work' and the claims typically made for them.

Research Supervisors

  • Professor Josephine Guy
  • Dr Nathan Waddell
  • Professor Andrzej G─ůsiorek (University of Birmingham)

Primary Funding Sources

My research is funded by the AHRC M3C Doctoral Training Partnership.

Additional Information

  • BA English (Hons) - University of Nottingham, 2011-2014
  • MA English Literature - University of Nottingham, 2014-2015

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