"My sense of my own identity is bound up with the past"
The Quest for a Female Identity in Historical Novels by British Women Writers: Penelope Lively, Margaret Drabble, A.S. Byatt, Esther Freud
by Jessica Koch
Date of Examination:2013-07-02
Date of issue:2014-02-06
Advisor:Prof. Dr. Brigitte Glaser
Referee:Prof. Dr. Brigitte Glaser
Referee:Prof. Dr. Barbara Schaff
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EnglishFor quite a long time women have been denied their rightful place in history as historiography has predominantly focused on men. To fill in this gap in historiography and shed a light on the female past, women writers have started to make use of the historical novel. This genre not only allows them to re-write history and eventually give women a voice in history, but also to examine the female quest for identity. This study hence analyses nine historical novels by contemporary British female authors (A.S. Byatt, Penelope Lively, Margaret Drabble, Esther Freud) which all display this connection of the female quest for history with the one for identity. The novels discussed thus display aspects of historical fiction, the Bildungsroman and also show characteristics of (auto-)biographies as well. Accordingly, this dissertation furthermore discusses the development of the historical novel and the Bildungsroman and aims to show how both genres have been brought into play by women writers and have been adapted to their specific topics.
Keywords: A.S.Byatt; Penelope Lively; Margaret Drabble; Esther Freud; Moon Tiger; Making It Up; The Peppered Moth; The Red Queen; The Virgin in the Garden; Still Life; Babel Tower; A Whistling Woman; Frederica Quartet; Summer at Gaglow; female identity; historical novel; Bildungsroman; historiographic metafiction; memory; autobiography