The Wolfhound Century Trilogy: World Building through Genre and Allusion
|Institution:||University of Huddersfield|
|Keywords:||PN Literature (General)|
|Full text PDF:||http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/34188/|
A PhD In Creative Writing by Publication, comprising a trilogy of published novels Wolfhound Century (2013), Truth and Fear (2014) and Radiant State (2015),described collectively as the Wolfhound Century trilogy and an accompanyingcommentary.The published novels are historical fantasy thrillers, engaging with Russian(predominantly Soviet) history and culture of the period approximately 1900 to 1960.The novels do not portray Russia directly, but create a refracted, re-imagined world ofRussian-ness, troped as 'the Vlast'.The commentary discusses the writing of the novels as practice-based research. Itexplores how the trilogy puts into practical fiction-writing use some concepts aboutliterary tradition, genre and intertextual allusions which I first developed as anacademic researcher in literary history. It describes the results of a writing processbased on the use of wide-ranging and deliberate allusiveness and multiple, shiftinggenres and narrative voices, ranging from those of popular fiction to the highlyliterary and poetic: a practice which grew out of my prior study of literary modernismand classical and Renaissance epic. It explores how these formal strategies are used toextend and complement the novels' thematic concerns with the interaction betweenthe totalizing, collectivizing state and the openness and plenitude of individual humanconsciousness.The commentary also discusses my novels as a contribution to knowledge,specifically to certain genres of fantasy writing and to the interface between fictionseen as popular or mass market and fiction seen as literary. It examines therelationship of the Wolfhound Century trilogy to fantasy thriller, alternate history,historical fantasy, steampunk, and cultural/historical mashup and pastiche. Itdescribes how my novels adopt aspects of those genres but also reshape and extendthem by integrating heightened and more 'literary' modes of writing and an extensiveand programmatic allusiveness to literary and cultural texts and ideas which lieoutside the conventional boundaries of current fantasy and science fiction writing. Itconcludes that while the Wolfhound Century trilogy is related to and engages with anumber of different genres, its foundational and driving creative purpose is ultimatelythat of high (or epic, or heroic) fantasy.