Seminar Presentations – Representations 1

Seminar Presentation and Essay Topics

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

  1. Conduct, attitude and the moral debate; ‘greatness’ as Great Britain and code for repression and concealment.
  2. Mr Stevens and the institution of the English butler: ‘what is a great butler?’.
  3. Characters treatment, typology and individuality: Lord Darlington, Mr Stevens and Miss Kenton as projections of loyalty, responsibility and duty, love and personal relationship.
  4. Significances of Mr Stevens’s double journey in time and space.
  5. The novel and as possible representation of Englishness.

Julian Barnes, England, England

  1. Baudrillard’s theories of the simulations of simulacra and of hyperreality.
  2. The conception of England, England as third order simulation and materialization of the assumption that the model replaces reality.
  3. Pitman’s final project of the thematic island. Subverted, satirical and grotesque representation(s) of England and Englishness.
  4. Symbolism of the novel’s divisions: (i) England, (ii) England, England and (iii) Anglia. England, England and Brexit.
  5. The characters of Pitman and Martha Cochrane – individuality, typology, representation and relevance.

Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor

  1. Rationalist – non-rationalist way of perception: mysticism, occult, Satanist and illuminati overtones and symbolism.
  2. The geometry of the churches: significances of the pentagram (the pentagon) as space associated with sacred meanings and psycho-geography.
  3. The detective plot – Hawksmoor as postmodern and anti-detective novel.
  4. The treatment of the characters of Nicholas Dyer, Walter Payne, Ned (the ‘Architect’) and inspector Hawksmoor.
  5. History as pivotal topic in the novel, and nature of time: ‘the perpetual present of the past’ which ‘reemerges in the most unlikely ways.’

Penelope Lively, City of the Mind

  1. The city and the city of the mind: the real and the imagined city. Landscape as text; the thirdspace.
  2. City of the Mind as a novel about (i) time, history and memory, coexistent past and present and (ii) space – weblike space, labyrinth, modern Babylon or Tower of Babel, as thirdspace / multi-layered space (lived space, perceived space and conceived space).
  3. The city as psychogeography. London as chronotope, as postmodern re(-)presentation of time and space.
  4. Halland as the wanderer, the flaneur, the observer; personal and impersonal implications: reconstruction of Halland’s life and of the city itself.
  5. Lively’s descriptive style of depicting London and narrating events.

Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

  1. Rewriting and fictionalization of history. Documentary vs. fiction. Revisiting history.
  2. Wolf Hall as fictional recreation of atmosphere and historical figures: Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII.
  3. Thomas Cromwell: sincere partisan for the Protestant cause or manipulator of Reformation?
  4. Displacement and identity. Characters recycled, real portrayals, inventing the ‘voice’ of each character: Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII.
  5. The narrative voice: the use of impersonal ‘he’ and the present to create an immediacy of the viewpoint.