Making History Otherwise: Learning to Talk and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher
AffiliationUniversity of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University
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AbstractThis chapter will explore ambiguous representations of history in Hilary Mantel’s two short story collections to date, Learning to Talk (2003) and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher (2014). The chapter will consider the figure of the ellipsis, which is traced metaphorically and literally in the stories, as a pertinent means by which to read them, including the titular ‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’ in Mantel’s more recent collection. Despite the media furore that followed the publication of this book, this chapter will argue that it is less the fantasy of the shooting of the premier that disturbed, but rather the pervasive sense of ambiguity. The uncertainty of individual biographies in Learning to Talk develops into an unsettling national narrative in her 2014 collection. For example, as stated in the titular story concerning Thatcher, ‘note the cold wind that blows through [the door] when you open it a crack. History could always have been otherwise’ (2014: 239-40).
CitationPollard, E. (2018). Making History Otherwise: Learning to Talk and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. In E. Pollard, & G. Carpenter (Eds.), Hilary Mantel: Contemporary Critical Perspectives. London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury.
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