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A dance to the music of her time: the now and the eternal in the writings of Mary Butts

posted on 2011-02-23, 10:24 authored by Susan E. Bullock
The aim of my thesis is to examine the writings of the modernist author, Mary Butts, placing her work in the context of the early twentieth century. I concentrate specifically on reading her work in relation to 'time', both as a historical period and as a more abstract idea. Butts achieved a degree of success during her lifetime but, after her death in 1937, her writings went out of print and her name was virtually forgotten. A resurgence of interest in her work has resulted in the re-issuing of many of her novels and short stories, as well as it biography written by Nathalie Blondel and a volume of extracts from her diaries (edited by Nathalie Blondel). Butts's original manuscripts, letters and diaries are housed in the Reinecke I ihrary at Yale University. In situating Butts's work against the backdrop of World War One and its aftermath, I discuss the way in which notions of trauma and estrangement aficct her writing. I also relate her writings to both modernity and antiquity in an attempt to establish her position within the modernist movement. The latter half of my thesis moves away from time as a moment in history and focuses on time as a concept, looking closely at early twentieth century notions of temporality and relating them to Butts's novels and short stories. Throughout I quote extensively from the works of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Julia Kristeva and Jane Harrison in order to support my arguments.



  • The Arts, English and Drama


  • English and Drama


© Susan Elizabeth Bullock

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University. If you are the author of this thesis and would like to make it openly available in the Institutional Repository please contact: repository@lboro.ac.uk

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  • en

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