Law, History, and Literature as Narrative in The Sense of an Ending

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Date

2014

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Kulvete, Samuel C.

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East Carolina University

Abstract

This thesis explores how Tony Webster constructs personal narrative in The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Using the work of Hayden White, J. Christopher Rideout, and Frank Kermode as a critical foundation, the paper discusses the intersection of legal, literary, and historical lenses for viewing narration. Of particular interest is "the fantasy space of the trial," a term introduced in this paper that applies to situations in which literary characters imagine themselves in hypothetical courtroom spaces. Barnes' novel also uses correspondence (letters, notes, and e-mails) to create a convergence point for legal, historical, and literary narrative. Law, history, and literature are all constructs receiving social support that provide a method for ordering the difficulties and uncertainties of the human experience.  

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