• Happier Than

      Chantler, Ashley; University of Chester (Woodhall Press, 2018-06)
      Flash fiction.
    • He is the fire

      Chantler, Ashley; University of Chester (The Alternative Press, 2013-10-13)
      A fast-paced year in the life of thirty-two-year-old protagonist Sam: part-time gardener, reserve lollipop man, writer of saccharine doggerel for greetings cards, boozer. Set on the Wirral in the not-too-distant past, this initially humorous story is about our ability to mess things up: relationships, jobs, eggs, underpants… If you’re a fan of Withnail and I, this debut novella could be for you.
    • ‘He was struck out. Deleted’: We Need to Talk about Wesley in Nicola Barker’s Behindlings

      Pollard, Eileen; University of Chester
      This article provides a poststructural reading of the character of Wesley in Nicola Barker’s 2002 novel Behindlings, which is broadly informed by Jean-Luc Nancy’s thoughts on being and community and Jacques Derrida’s thinking on khōra, as well as other established poststructural paradigms. It contends that the novel simultaneously engages with these ideas and exceeds them. Wesley is the void-at-the-heart of his own ‘philosophy’: ‘He was hollow. He was empty […] He was a vacuum. He was struck-out. Deleted. He was nothing’. And he is everything as well at one and the same time. It is the classic poststructural paradox – receiving everything while possessing nothing – that makes meaning possible. And that is the argument: the signifier, the empty sign for some, the palimpsest for others, here is simply Wesley. However, my argument is that the characterisation of Wesley challenges and complicates such readings, deliberately. This article will demonstrate how the novel repeatedly sullies the theories it implicates by introducing a persistent taint to the main vehicle used to articulate the theory, the protagonist himself, that ‘puerile […] shithead’, Wesley.
    • Heart of Darkness: Character studies

      Chantler, Ashley; University of Chester (Continuum, 2008-03-27)
      This book introduces "Heart of Darkness" through its key characters - an ideal framework for students looking to develop an advanced understanding of the text. Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" (1899) is one of the most important literary works of the early twentieth century. It has provoked much critical debate, on issues such as fin de siecle doubt and pessimism, European colonialism, racism, and misogyny. Engaging with the novel's characters is crucial to understanding its complexity and its critical history.This study includes: an overview of the novel, including an account of its late nineteenth-century context; discussions of the narrative structure and the narrators; chapters analysing in detail the key characters in relation to the text's themes, issues and historical context; engagement with a range of literary criticism and theory; a conclusion reminding students of the potential of detailed character analysis and close critical reading; and, a guide to secondary texts and a comprehensive bibliography. This is an ideal introduction for students wanting to develop an advanced understanding of Joseph Conrad's challenging novel." Character Studies" aims to promote sophisticated literary analysis through the concept of character. It demonstrates the necessity of linking character analysis to texts' themes, issues and ideas, and encourages students to embrace the complexity of literary characters and the texts in which they appear. The series thus fosters close critical reading and evidence-based discussion, as well as an engagement with historical context, and with literary criticism and theory.Designed for first year students, the series builds on the usual knowledge base of students beginning literary study in HE by focusing on the familiar characters but introducing more sophisticated analysis.
    • 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
    • History, Globalization and The Human Subject in The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

      Stephenson, William; University of Chester (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019-07-25)
      Jacob de Zoet and Aibagawa Orito, the protagonists of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, think and act like people of their time and place. Mitchell's novel thus falls into step with Georg Lukács's classic Marxist account of historical fiction as a genre that 'endeavours to portray the struggles and antagonisms of history by means of characters who, in their psychology and destiny, always represent social trends and historical forces'. The gestures, hints and fantasies that characterize Jacob's and Orito's unconsummated affair suggest in microcosm the state of world historical relationships in the novel, where the expansionist West and isolationist Japan imagine one another, creating spectres of race and nation. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet alludes to its own time by advancing Mitchell's project, begun in Ghostwritten, of engagement with the contemporary globalized world where civilizations clash in a state of mutual ignorance. Caroline Edwards has shown how Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas offer 'a non-contemporaneous narrative present' of the sort described by Jacques Derrida in Specters of Marx. Taking its cue from Edwards's point that this disjointed present exists in Mitchell's fiction to defamiliarize and critically examine 'the globalized capitalist world of his readership', this essay will study the contemporary cultural conflicts played out in the historical setting of Mitchell's Japan.
    • The Hornet

      Stephenson, William; University of Chester (The Interpreter's House, 2017-10-01)
      Poem
    • How Much? An Interesting Typo in Kim Stanley Robinson's The Gold Coast

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester
      One typo in Kim Stanley Robinson’s 1988 novel The Gold Coast is so prominent as to merit consideration. Nevertheless, there is no evidence that it has ever come to the attention of readers before now.
    • How the Mini Moog Conquered Red China

      Stephenson, William; University of Chester (Magma, 2017-03-01)
      Poem
    • How the Other Three-Quarters Lived: The Cabin in Famine Literature

      Fegan, Melissa; University of Chester (Peter Lang, 2019-01-23)
      In the 1841 census three-quarters of houses in Ireland were placed in the lowest two classes, one-roomed mud cabins and slightly larger mud cottages. What Harriet Martineau describes as ‘Irish cabin life’ was a matter of fascination for visitors to Ireland before and after the Famine, and the cabin became a key site of ethnographic exploration. Curious or philanthropic observers were either shocked by the poverty and wretchedness they saw, or puzzled or even offended by the seeming happiness and healthiness of cabin-dwellers. During the Famine, the cabin was a scene for tragedy and horror: the place from which the people were evicted, from which they emigrated, in which they were quarantined, where they were found dying or dead, where they were buried. The roofless cabin later eloquently attested to their suffering and absence, and has become one of the most significant visual icons in the commemoration of the Famine. This chapter examines the representation of the cabin in literature from the time of the Famine to the present day, in the works of authors such as William Carleton, Anthony Trollope, Margaret Brew, Carol Birch, Anne Enright, and Tana French, considering the ways in which social hierarchy and communal relations are mediated through its space in texts set during the Famine, and its spectral significance in modern and contemporary literature as a concrete or symbolic inheritance, a time-machine, a haunted house, a place to desecrate or take refuge in, and a crime scene.
    • "How was she to have known ... ": Interpreting Nadine Gordimer

      Blair, Peter; Chester College of Higher Education (University of Manchester, 2002-01)
      ManuScript
    • Hyper-compressions: The rise of flash fiction in “post-transitional” South Africa

      Blair, Peter; University of Chester (SAGE Publications, 2018-07-16)
      This article begins with a survey of flash fiction in “post-transitional” South Africa, which it relates to the nation’s post-apartheid canon of short stories and short-short stories, to the international rise of flash fiction and “sudden fiction”, and to the historical particularities of South Africa’s “post-transition”. It then undertakes close readings of three flash fictions republished in the article, each less than 450 words: Tony Eprile’s “The interpreter for the tribunal” (2007), which evokes the psychological and ethical complexities, and long-term ramifications, of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Michael Cawood Green’s “Music for a new society” (2008), a carjacking story that invokes discourses about violent crime and the “‘new’ South Africa”; and Stacy Hardy’s “Kisula” (2015), which maps the psychogeography of cross-racial sex and transnational identity-formation in an evolving urban environment. The article argues that these exemplary flashes are “hyper-compressions”, in that they compress and develop complex themes with a long literary history and a wide contemporary currency. It therefore contends that flash fiction of South Africa’s post-transition should be recognized as having literary-historical significance, not just as an inherently metonymic form that reflects, and alludes to, a broader literary culture, but as a genre in its own right.
    • Hysteria repeating itself: Elizabeth Gaskell's Lois the witch

      Wynne, Deborah; University College Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2006-12-20)
      This article discusses Lois the witch, (Elizabeth Gaskell's fictional representation of the Salem witch trials) which was first published serially in Dickens's All The Year Round in 1859. This serialisation led to numerous conservative accounts in the periodical press of the role of the hysterical woman throughout history. In Lois, however, with its representation of mass hysteria, Gaskell refutes the widespread Victorian belief that hysteria is 'natural' for women - a symptom of their vulnerable bodies and minds.
    • Ian Seed Takes a Nap

      Chantler, Ashley; University of Chester (Department of English, University of Chester, 2015-12)
      Flash fiction.
    • Identity Papers

      Seed, Ian; University of Chester (Shearsman Books, 2016-02-19)
      The prose poems in Identity Papers seek to construct a living bridge between the self and its shadow, between the self and other, and between present and past. They do so with a vulnerable faith, working with Heidegger's dictum that all things must be allowed their time in darkness. Along the way, their narrators meet a series of disturbing, irresistible strangers. Identity Papers follows on from Makers of Empty Dreams (Shearsman, 2014). It is the second volume in a trilogy of prose poem collections.
    • Images of the witch in nineteenth-century culture

      Wynne, Deborah; Elsley, Susan J. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2012-04)
      This thesis examines the witch imagery used during the nineteenth century in children’s literature, realist and gothic fiction, poetry and art, and by practitioners and critics of mesmerism, spiritualism and alternative spirituality. The thesis is based on close readings of nineteenth-century texts and detailed analysis of artwork, but also takes a long view of nineteenth-century witch imagery in relation to that of preceding and succeeding periods. I explore the means by which the image of the witch was introduced as an overt or covert figure into the work of nineteenth-century writers and artists during a period when the majority of literate people no longer believed in the existence of witchcraft; and I investigate the relationship between the metaphorical witch and the areas of social dissonance which she is used to symbolise. I demonstrate that the diversity of nineteenth-century witch imagery is very wide, but that there is a tendency for positive images to increase as the century progresses. Thereby the limited iconography of malevolent witches and powerless victims of witch-hunts, promulgated by seventeenth-century witch-hunters and eighteenth-century rationalist philosophers respectively, were joined by wise-women, fairy godmothers, sorceresses, and mythical immortals, all of whom were defined, directly or indirectly, as witches. Nonetheless I also reveal that every image of the witch I examine has a dark shadow, despite or because of the empathy between witch and creator which is evident in many of the works I have studied. In the Introduction I acknowledge the validity of theories put forward by historians regarding the influence of societal changes on the decline of witchcraft belief, but I argue that those changes also created the need for metaphorical witchery to address the anxieties created by those changes. I contend that the complexity of social change occurring during and prior to the nineteenth century resulted in an increase in the diversification of witch imagery. I argue that the use of diverse images in various cultural forms was facilitated by the growth of liberal individualism which allowed each writer or artist to articulate specific concerns through discrete images of the witch which were no longer coloured solely by the dictates of superstition or rationalism. I look at the peculiar ability of the witch as a symbolic outcast from society to view that society from an external perspective and to use the voice of the exile to say the unsayable. I also use definitions garnered from a wide spectrum of sources from cultural history to folklore and neo-paganism to justify my broad definition of the word ‘witch’. In Chapter One I explore children’s literature, on the assumption that images absorbed during childhood would influence both the conscious and unconscious witch imagery produced by the adult imagination. I find the templates for familiar imagery in collections of folklore and, primarily, in translations of ‘traditional’ fairy tales sanitised for the nursery by collectors such as Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. I then examine fantasies created for Victorian children by authors such as Mary de Morgan, William Makepeace Thackeray, George MacDonald and Charles Kingsley, where the image of witch and fairy godmother is conflated in fiction which elevates the didactic fairy tale to a level which in some cases is imbued with a neo-platonic religiosity, thereby transforming the witch into a powerful portal to the divine. In contrast the canonical novelists whose work I examine in Chapter Two generally project witch imagery obliquely onto foolish, misguided, doomed or defiant women whose witchery is both allusionary and illusionary. I begin with the work of Sir Walter Scott whose bad or sad witches touch his novels with the supernatural while he denies their magic. Scott’s witch imagery, like that of Perrault and Grimm, is reflected in the witches who represent women’s exclusion from autonomy, education and/or the literary establishment in the works of Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot. Traditional fairy-tale imagery is particularly evident in Charles Dickens’ use of the witch to represent negative aspects in the development of society or the individual. In contrast Scott’s impulse to distance himself from the pre-urban world represented by his witches contrasts with Thomas Hardy’s mourning of the female earth spirits of Wessex, thereby linking fluctuating and evolving images of nature with images of the nineteenth-century witch. In Chapter Three I explore poetry and art through Romantic verse, Tennyson’s Camelot, Rossetti and Burne-Jones’ Pre-Raphaelite classicism, Rosamund Marriot Watson and Mary Coleridge’s shape-shifting, mirrored women, and Yeats’ Celtic Twilight: in doing so I find representations of the witch as the destructive seductress, the muse, the dark ‘other’ of the suppressed poet, the symbol of spellbinding amoral nature, and the embodiment of the Celtic soul. In the final chapter witch imagery is attached to actual practitioners of so-called ‘New Witchcraft’, yet they also become part of a story which seeks to equate neo/quasi science with the supernatural. I demonstrate a gender realignment of occult power as the submissive mesmerist’s tool evolves into the powerful mother/priestess. I note the interconnectedness of fiction and fact via the novels of authors such as Wilkie Collins and Edward Bulwer-Lytton; and identify the role of the campaigning godmother figure as a precursor of the radical feminist Wiccan. I believe that my thesis offers a uniquely comprehensive view of the use of metaphorical witch imagery in the nineteenth century.
    • In praise of paving

      Chantler, Ashley; University of Chester (The Alternative Press, 2003)
      Ashley Chantler's debut poetry collection. Contents: Part I: Walls, Pirouette, Storm in a Teashop, Secretions, Between Embarrassment and Desire, …giving…taking…over…in…, Lines, The Poet and the Ant, Until Death Them Do Part, Cut Off, Probing, Sketch for a Modern Love Poem, Fragment 1, Fragment 2, Fragment 3, Fragment 4, Fragment 5, Fragment 6, Free. Part II: Lost in the Fun House, Nine Crap Poets in a Lift, Gulf, Gulf (2), Judgements, The Unappreciated, The Bliss of Innocence, Bachelor, Bachelor (2), A Short Story about Borders, …giving…taking…over…in…, Will, Personal Helicon, In Praise of Paving. Reprinted in 2006.
    • 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.
    • Intimacy between men in modern women's writing

      Stephenson, William; Woledge, Elizabeth (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2005-08)
      This thesis sets out to investigate, and concludes by defining, a genre of modern women's writing. This genre, which 1 have called 'intimatopia' for its depiction of fictional worlds which centre around intimacy, explores close relationships between men, I use this thesis to elucidate the ideological assumptions which underlie this genre, as well as to consider the textual features which are commonly used to support them. My investigation is facilitated by my choice to focus on the appropriative fictions which form a significant part of the intimatopic genre. The appropriative text is particularly apposite to any project which, like this one, seeks to investigate distinctive ideologies, for in a comparison between the text and its source the ideological perspectives of the writer can be glimpsed. As a result of this approach one of the central features of this thesis is a comparison between hegemonic and intimatopic ideologies, which are found to be markedly different. Central to the intimatopic text, which may be sexually explicit, sexually discreet, or sexually ambiguous, is the assumption that there exists a fluid link between love, friendship and intimacy. This ideological perspective is one which many theoreticians, in fields as diverse as literary criticism, psychology and biology, have connected to feminine, rather than masculine, ways of thinking. Although it is therefore unsurprising to find that this is a feature of a predominantly feminine genre, its application to relationships between men runs counter to ideological assumptions about masculine interaction. From examining a variety of appropriative literature 1 move on to less overtly appropriative texts in which the by now familiar intimatopic features can be identified. Following this, 1 discuss the interpretive communities which produce intimatopic texts, using the example of slash fiction, where the interpretive community is readily accessible, I begin to investigate the ideological assumptions about human interaction which underpin the interpretations typical of intimatopic writing. Finally, I consider the genre's antecedents, and mention other texts which, although they do not take male intimacy as their theme, nonetheless share intimatopic features. Thus this thesis offers an insight into an area of women's writing which has received little critical attention and which I have been able to crystallise into the genre of intimatopia. Whilst it is clearly inaccurate to describe all women's writing as intimatopic, this genre accounts for a significant number of texts by women and should be recognised alongside other feminine genres as part of the varied field of women's literature.
    • Introduction

      Hay, Jonathan; Bonsall, Amy; Ashton, Bodie A.; University of Chester; University of Manchester; University of Adelaide (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020-05-08)
      Bodies occupy a paradoxical space in modern society. On the one hand, the body is the most obvious and visible medium used to represent and express ourselves and our identities. On the other hand, this importance also leaves the body open to being controlled, regulated and interpreted. The result of this uncomfortable balance is that body diversity remains at once embraced and vulnerable, and the expression of that diversity is encouraged by some, while also being the subject of the prejudice of others. This chapter acts as an introduction for nine interdisciplinary, international essays, each engaging with the theme of “the body”, broadly defined. It thus lays the groundwork for a volume in which the body not only speaks but is heard and listened to.