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The Wild Girl novel with complementary discourse

Corder, Nicholas Stephen (2013) The Wild Girl novel with complementary discourse. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis comprises two parts: a novel, The Wild Girl, and a complementary discourse. The Wild Girl is largely set in France and interweaves three timescales, 1731, 1968 and 1998. In 1968, a pair of young curators tries to breathe life into what they fear might be a dusty exhibition celebrating the life of a feral child found in the local woods over 200 years earlier. Kicking against their fusty boss and carried away by the spirit of May 1968, they bend, then break rules until ultimately they commit murder. In 1998, as France settles down to watch the World Cup, a private detective is immolated in an arson attack. When Detective Bousquet investigates, it appears that the fire links back to both the folie à deux of 1968 and a bizarre, ruthless religious cult. The complementary discourse is divided into four sections and examines the research, poetics and authorial decisions that went into the composition of the novel. The first chapter examines the historical and factual research needed for a novel set in other times and another country. Chapter 2 is an examination of craft and deals with the creative processes involved in novel writing. Chapter 3 considers the challenges of structuring a three-strand story, the difficulties of creating narrative tension therein - and the demands on the reader that using intertwining narratives makes. As the original work was never planned to be detective fiction, chapter 4 discusses the extent to which the completed novel conforms to that genre and the difficulties faced in avoiding the tropes of the genre.

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