• My Friend, the Queen, an historical novel, with an accompanying Critical Commentary, Historical Fiction in the 21st Century: its Purpose and Practice

      Rees, Emma; Wall, Alan; Jones, Sheila (University of Chester, 2022-04)
      1509. On the day of the Coronation of the new young King and his Spanish Queen, eight-year-old Kat Champernowne goes to live and work at Hever Castle. There she strikes up a friendship with the family’s middle child, Anne: it is a lifelong bond that will take her to France, to London, to the birth of a Princess, and to the execution of a Queen. My Friend, the Queen is a feminist novel in the historical literary fiction genre, which presents the story of Anne Boleyn from an original perspective. Its protagonist, Kat Champernowne, more familiarly known by her married name of Ashley, is a real person whose early life has not previously been voiced. Throughout the substantive part of my thesis - the novel - she narrates her own story, closely intertwined with that of Anne Boleyn, from their imagined first meeting at Hever to Anne’s beheading in 1536. My Critical Commentary begins by tracing the trajectory and evolution of historical fiction from 1971. Drawing on the experience of undertaking a practice-based PhD, I then examine the relationship between history and fiction, linking my analysis of historical fiction’s current purpose and practice to the research and methodologies I employ in synthesising ‘fact’ and ‘fiction’ into a cohesive whole. I incorporate both critical and theoretical issues, as well as drawing on the works and methodology of other novelists, to delineate the role and status of historical fiction in the twenty-first century from the viewpoints of both a practitioner and a theorist.
    • Disruption and Disability Futures in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

      Tankard, Alex; University of Chester (Liverpool University Press, 2022-02-01)
      Marvel superhero movies celebrate the transformation of disabled people into weapons. First Avenger depicts a disabled man rebuilt by military technology into a patriotic superhero. In Winter Soldier, the Soviet cyborg’s brutal, non-consensual modification serves to emphasise Captain America’s wholesomely perfected body. At first glance, both films seem incapable of critiquing the historical ableism that made Captain America’s modification a desirable image of disability-free future in 1941 – let alone its modern manifestations. However, re-watching First Avenger after Winter Soldier reveals a far less stable endorsement of eliminating disability: now alerted to the series’ precise anxieties about bodily autonomy, one can perceive an undercurrent of disability critique running through First Avenger too – often literally in the background. The film exposes the historical ableism that shaped Steve’s consent to modification, and begins to establish his sidekick Bucky Barnes as a persistent critical voice capable of envisioning a different disability future. This essay is therefore not only about ableism in a pair of superhero movies, but also about how these ableist films contain seeds of an unexpected critique of their own disability representation.
    • Hereditary surname establishment in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds: a diachronic analysis

      Parkin, Harry; University of Chester (Paul Watkins/Shaun Tyas, 2022-01-01)
      A study of the local development of hereditary surnames in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds in the 14th century, looking at how it may differ from the apparent national patterns of hereditary surname adoption, and the implications for further surname research
    • A lot of snow out of one cloud: : A Concordance Analysis of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (Hélice, 2021-12-09)
      Whereas prior academic studies of the Hainish Cycle have been primarily produced by means of textual analysis, I demonstrate that a concordance analysis of its six novels reveals significant, yet heretofore overlooked, ecological aspects of Le Guin’s series. As becomes apparent, snow imagery literalises the Hainish Cycle’s New Wave moves from technological, to biological and sociological concerns, emphasising the series’ significant challenge to the technophilic assumptions and eschatological foundations of the preceding Golden Age. Accordingly, this article demonstrates the primacy of the datum of snow within the narratives of the Hainish Cycle novels, and delineates its important contribution to the series’ SFnal dialectic on aggregate.
    • Neocolonial Auspices: Rethinking the Ekumen in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (Idaho University), 2021-12-01)
      Although the Ekumen in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle have frequently been read as a utopian social body, their policy of contacting native cultures frequently provokes the erasure of that same cultural multiplicity which they purport to value. Hence, the uneven cultural synthesis enacted by the Ekumen across the galaxy cannot be intended as a positive epistemology of multicultural society. Rather, throughout the Hainish Cycle, the colonial practices of the Ekumen rhetorically contrast the series’ emphasis upon the multifaceted forms of life and culture found across the unassimilated worlds of the galaxy. Accordingly, Le Guin’s series problematizes the colonial practices of the Ekumen through what we might profitably term its mundane dialectic, which consequently engenders a cogent means of neocolonial discourse.
    • Industrial Gentlemanliness: The fin-de-siècle adventure hero in text and image, 1870-1914

      Fegan, Melissa; West, Sally; Hall, Leo J. (University of Chester, 2021-11)
      This thesis identifies and examines representations of English heroic masculinities in imperialist adventure stories at the end of the nineteenth century. It contends that fin-de-siècle adventure stories are products of Victorian industrial, technological, and scientific developments. The chapters trace this context through analysis of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1883), Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan of the Apes (1912), Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World (1912). A significant aspect of the texts is how their perspectives on the English identities of their heroes are informed by their authors’ ‘outsider’ status, for Stevenson and Conan Doyle were Scottish (the latter of Irish Catholic descent), Burroughs was American, and Verne was French. The Introduction to the thesis argues that central to identifying the relationship between the adventure hero and industrialisation are the original illustrations that were printed with the stories. These create intertextual and paratextual frames, showing how the context of industrial modernity moulds the fin-de-siècle masculine body and mind. The partnership between text and illustrations exposes the complex relationship between industrial modernity and heroic masculinity, particularly, the construction of an idealised gentlemanly identity and gendered performance. Stevenson claimed that penny dreadfuls influenced his development of characters and the action of Treasure Island, and Chapter One traces the impact of nineteenth-century print culture and the growth and dissemination of popular fiction in relation to both Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Burroughs’s Tarzan. Simultaneously, the influence of mid-century discourses regarding ideas of self-help and industriousness are analysed in the portrayals of Stevenson’s characters, especially the pirate Long John Silver. Chapter Two focuses on the topic of mobility and how the industrialised travel space is negotiated by adventurers. Verne’s Around the World demonstrates how international travel became more accessible, and how the speed of travel impacts on the curiosity of the orientalist traveller. Despite Phileas Fogg’s lack of engagement with his journey, a connection is established between the traveller and his immediate industrialised travel space. This is accentuated when Fogg is forced to use ‘exotic’ modes of transport, which ironically serve to delineate his Englishness, especially when placed against the other voices and behaviours of his fellow travel companions. Chapter Three identifies the psychological and physiological impact of science, industrialisation and technology upon Conan Doyle’s adventurers, showing how this is exposed during encounters abroad. The identity of the adventure heroes in these novels is moulded by a Western masculine heteronormative construct that is characterised by a visible gendered performance. This performance includes the body and its clothing and accessories. As the thesis argues, the fin-de-siècle adventure hero has a Janus-faced identity; constructed against a romanticised vision of the past and a nostalgic ideal of gentlemanliness, but also forward-looking in terms of forging a future for Britain through the imperialist dream. The thesis demonstrates that the adventure story is a paradox: an outcome of invention, scientific, technological and industrial progress, yet also a supposed escape from nineteenth-century industrial modernity.
    • Editorial and Contents of Flash Fiction Magazine (11.2)

      Blair, Peter; Chantler, Ashley; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2021-10-01)
      Editorial and Contents.
    • Review of Ecofeminist Science Fiction: International Perspectives on Gender, Ecology, and Literature

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (The Science Fiction Foundation, 2021-08-06)
      Book review of Ecofeminist Science Fiction: International Perspectives on Gender, Ecology, and Literature, ed. Douglas A. Vakoch (Routledge, 2021, 232pp, £120).
    • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain

      Parkin, Harry; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2021-08-03)
      A dictionary of family names found in Britain in the present day. A concise version of the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland (2016).
    • ‘I’m Gonna Be the Best Friend You Could Ever Hope For—And the Worst Enemy You Could Ever Imagine’: Frank Miller’s All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder and the Problem of the Boy Sidekick in the Twenty-First-Century Superhero Narrative

      Andrew, Lucy; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021-07-25)
      Andrew examines the representation of the boy sidekick/adult detective relationship in Frank Miller’s All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder (2005–2008). The chapter explores the ways in which Miller’s graphic novel revises, rewrites and problematises the classic Batman/Robin relationship, with particular emphasis on power, violence and abuse. It explores the disturbing parallels that the text draws between the boy sidekick and the love interest, the troubling power imbalance between the adult superhero and his boy sidekick, and the dangers inherent in introducing an innocent and traumatised boy into the violent world of an adult crime fighter. The chapter concludes by identifying how tonal and structural shifts in the comic-book medium have contributed to the growing prevalence of problematised Robin figures in twenty-first-century Batman narratives.
    • Introduction: Step Forward, Sidekicks

      Andrew, Lucy; Saunders, Samuel; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021-07-25)
      Saunders and Andrew offer a definition of the sidekick in crime fiction and provide a brief account of the origins and development of this figure from the nineteenth century to the present day. They outline significant moments in the history of the sidekick, establish key trends in the construction of the sidekick, and identify and interrogate widely held views about the sidekick’s function and representation in crime fiction. They make a case for the wider significance of the sidekick beyond the role of help-mate or foil to the infallible detective and point towards the key contributions that the sidekick has made and continues to make to the canon of crime fiction. They also offer a brief introduction to each of the essays and key themes/ideas explored by contributors throughout the collection.
    • The Posthuman Trajectory of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Universe

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (Burrowing Wombat Press, 2021-06-30)
      When Isaac Asimov began to expand the fictional universe of his acclaimed Foundation Trilogy in 1982—almost thirty years after the publication of its prior entry, Second Foundation (1953)—he did so with the express intention of assimilating its continuity into a unified “history of the future” with his Robot and Galactic Empire series. Although the Foundation Universe has received little critical attention to date as a unified series, the analysis of it cumulatively reveals its significantly mundane and repetitive aspects. Demonstrably, the rhetorical function of such banal components renders the series conspicuously posthuman.
    • A “WomEsanist” Theory: Autoethnography of Triads of Familial Generations of Nigerian Esan Women’s Perceptions of Body Size and Image

      Rees, Emma; Ugege, Elsie O. (University of Chester, 2021-06)
      I consider the under-theorised genre of less powerful cultures, like my Esan culture, as a site for the subversion of dominant discourses. Espousing a novel feminist theoretical framework – “WomEsanism”, in combination with autoethnographic research methodology, I aim to advance the understanding of Nigerian Esan women’s constructions of ideal body size and image while reflecting on my own status as an Esan woman. My research trajectory was constantly characterised by self-interrogation and self-analysis, while relating my personal experience to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings articulated by other Esan women participants of my study. I recruited 16 sets of triads of familial generations of Esan women from all five local government areas of Esanland. A triadic family set comprised of daughter, mother, and grandmother. The total number of individual participants were 48. I used the snowballing sampling technique to locate families that met my inclusion criteria. I collected data from myself through introspection and from my participants via one-to-one in-depth interview using semi-structured questions, and real-life observations. Then, I conducted a thematic analysis on all data types I collected. “Being beyond body in bodies” emerged as my overarching interpretation of my findings. Two complementary but inter-related themes supported the articulation of this interpretation and are: “being beyond body” and “being in bodies”. “Being beyond body” was expressed through three analytical sub-themes namely, “abilities”; “circumstance”; and “essence”. Esan women’s abilities in terms of body responsiveness, connectedness to body, and comfort in body, influence their innate image that transcends corporeal representations. In addition, they expressed their innate beliefs of how life circumstances, like nature events and socio-economic events, rationalise their views of being beyond body. Still, they derived an innate essence from both spirituality, mostly demonstrated through religion; and being human. “Being in bodies” echoed the body as a social phenomenon described as “slim”, “average” and “fat” by my participants. These are socially-fluid categorisations of body size. Furthermore, four analytical sub-themes created contexts for understanding these body sizes and are: “nourishment and youthfulness”; “health and wellbeing”; “attractiveness”; and “respect and personality”. Together, these cultural perceptions of body size and image by my participants are embedded in the intersections of the multiple social spaces which they occupy. I conclude that my study is beneficial to the academic discipline of Public Health for understanding the connections between socio-political locations, resultant cultures, and body image. This research was also an opportunity for me to gain skills relevant for my learning how to learn about the diverse world via discourses of gender constructs; culture and bodies; politics of knowledge; sociology of health; and the autoethnographic research methodology as a critical social research approach.
    • The Literary Places of Mary Cholmondeley and Mary Webb: Women Walking and Interacting with the Shropshire Countryside

      Wynne, Deborah; Walker, Naomi (University of Chester, 2020-11)
      This thesis will demonstrate the importance of Mary Cholmondeley’s and Mary Webb’s novels, short stories, poetry and essays by showing their part in the literary heritage of Shropshire. Both writers drew on their experiences of living in Shropshire villages for their inspiration. This thesis will highlight the significance of the work of these now little-known authors and will draw attention to the feminist arguments which were implicit in their work. By highlighting the instances of women walking and interacting with the countryside in their short stories and novels, I will show that both authors indicated the necessity for greater rights for women in society in the early part of the twentieth century. The independent and freethinking heroines who feature in their novels and short stories provide important feminist representations which deserve greater visibility in studies of this period. As such, this thesis will be useful to scholars studying New Woman writers and their depictions of women. By stressing the influence of Shropshire on each author’s work, I hope that they will stand comparison with A.E. Housman, whose poetry is influenced by that region. This thesis will provide a critical study of Cholmondeley and Webb and I have produced a number of G.I.S. maps to emphasise the connection they had with Shropshire. These provide an alternative way to study their work. This online and accessible resource should engage new audiences to their work. The Introduction to the thesis will set out the connections that both writers had with the county. It will also provide an overview of critical texts associated with Space and Place studies that have influenced my research, as well as relating Cholmondeley and Webb to some of the other women writers who were writing at the same time. Chapter One focusses on Cholmondeley’s writing, arguing that her work displays an implicit feminism. She depicts heroines walking and interacting with the countryside in both her novels and short stories as part of her argument that women desired more independence in the early part of the twentieth century. This chapter also assesses the influence of Shropshire on Cholmondeley’s work and argues that, even when living away from the county, it had a great impact on her writing. Chapter Two will show that, whilst Mary Webb’s connection to Shropshire has already been well established, few academic studies have been written about her work. I argue that, by portraying the mobility of women within the rural landscape in her novels, poetry, essays and short stories, she addresses the larger political issue of women’s rights. This chapter also analyses the work of many of the literary pilgrims who visited Shropshire specifically in search of the places that inspired Webb’s writing in order to show the unhelpful ways in which they have mythologised her life and work. Chapter Three will analyse the G.I.S. maps which I have produced in order to argue that mapping can lead to a greater insight into the work of these two authors. It will also point out the growing use of interactive technology in contemporary literature studies. Links to my G.I.S. maps, and more information about them, can be found in the Appendix to my thesis. The Conclusion demonstrates the continuing legacy of Cholmondeley and Webb in order to stress their importance, not only to the literary landscape of Shropshire, but also to the wider literary culture.
    • The aura of facticity: the ideological power of hidden voices in news reports

      Davies, Matt; University of Chester (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020-04-16)
      This chapter explores the most significant stylistic features of and relationships between the two most ubiquitous genres in print news reporting – the editorial column (the anonymous official line of the newspaper on the issues of the day) and the so-called ‘straight’ or ‘hard’ news reports which typically constitute the front pages (and many of the first few inside pages) of the daily national (UK) newspapers. It provides a framework for identifying some of the most significant characteristic stylistic features of these genres, focussing specifically on how a defining distinction is the absence and presence of authorial voice in the news report and editorial column respectively. However, the claim, for instance by that “journalism derives a great deal of its legitimacy from the postulate that it is able to present true pictures of reality to objectivity in the news report” (Wien, 2005:3) is challenged. The chapter argues that the aura of facticity projected by the absence of often highly rhetorical features manifest in editorial columns, camouflages attitudes and values embedded within the equivalent news reports, and in doing so performs significant ideological work in hiding those values. Using news reports and editorials published in five UK national newspapers published on 13 July 2018, based around the visit of US President Donald Trump to the UK, the chapter demonstrates how the attitudes and values expressed in editorial columns are still in evidence in their equivalent front page news reports and that despite the best intentions of professional journalists to report events using standard techniques, objectivity is and can only be a myth.
    • Young Ireland and Beyond

      Fegan, Melissa; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2020-02-28)
      This chapter examines the ideology, aspirations, and political and literary legacy of the Young Ireland group.
    • ‘The Madman out of The Attic’ Gendered Madness in Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Villette, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

      Bury, Hannah (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-12)
      The nineteenth-century ‘madwoman’ is critically established, but not always contentiously questioned or repudiated, within Brontë scholarship. This dissertation will therefore explore the possibility that the quintessentially ‘mad’ female can be replaced by the heavily flawed, and often equally ‘mad’ man, who continuously controls and represses her. Through a diachronic analysis of Bertha Mason and Lucy Snowe in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Villette, Catherine Earnshaw in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Helen Graham in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, this project will demonstrate how and why the middleclass, ‘sane’ and respectable man can be met with character divergences and vices of his own. This undermines his credibility as a ‘doctor’ or a dictator in his treatment of women, which in turn vindicates and questions the validity and the ultimate cause of female ‘madness’ in the first instance. Chapters One and Two will trace Bertha and Catherine’s respective downfalls to death through ‘madness’, and their connecting relationships with both Rochester and Edgar. Chapter Three will examine how Lucy does manage to survive her mistreatment; yet, she is left without purpose or a definitive identity of her own as a result. In contrast to the preceding chapters, Chapter Four will inverse and redeem the trends of the nineteenth-century woman, ones which so heavily affected Bertha, Catherine and Lucy, as Helen survives her unfavourable experience. While Bertha, Catherine and Lucy react and succumb to their patriarchal repression in different ways, only Anne Brontë offers a solution to the polemical issues which all three authors raise. As she emancipates her heroine Helen, in contrast to repressing her further, she negotiates how an alternative and a more optimistic fate potentially awaits women who are entrapped within the rigid patriarchal systems of nineteenth-century literature and culture.
    • Afrofuturism and Splendor & Misery

      Hay, Jonathan (British Science Fiction Association, 2019-09-29)
      A countercultural movement characterised by a dynamic understanding of the narrative authority held by texts, Afrofuturism rewrites African culture in a speculative vein, granting African and Afrodiasporic peoples a culturally empowered means of writing their own future. This article examines the manner by which clipping.'s 2016 album Splendor & Misery-a conceptual hip-hop space opera-freely enlists and reclaims texts from the African cultural tradition in order to manifest its Afrofuturist agenda. The process by which Afrofuturism reclaims and rewrites culture is paralleled within Splendor & Misery through the literary device of mise en abyme; just as the album itself does, its central protagonist rewrites narratives of African cultures and traditions in an act of counterculture.
    • Crossing borders in Victorian travel: spaces, nations and empires

      Fegan, Melissa (Informa UK Limited, 2019-09-26)
    • (Post)human Temporalities: Science Fiction in the Anthropocene

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (Brill, 2019-09-24)
      Although many SF texts proceed from the speculative premise that our species will continue to develop technologically, and hence become increasingly posthuman, our species’ continuance into even the next century is by no means assured. Rather, the Anthropocene exerts a new temporal logic; it is an age defined by an intensification of geological timescales. It is therefore noteworthy that many contemporary SF texts are ecologically interventionist and figure apocalyptic future temporalities which curtail the posthuman predilection common to the genre. This article analyses a tetrad of literary texts, written at various points during the last three decades, which summatively reveal the mutations of the (post)human temporalities figured by cli-fi texts. These four texts are: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy (1992-1996); Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods (2007); Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things (2014); and Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife (2015).