"Margiad Evans : body, book and identity : an analysis of the novels and autobiographical texts"

Caesar, Karen (2013). "Margiad Evans : body, book and identity : an analysis of the novels and autobiographical texts". PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000d501


This thesis sets out to find Margiad Evans (1909-1958) in her works. To this end it offers an analysis of her four novels, her autobiographical texts, both published and unpublished, and her private writing, including letters and journals. Benefiting from insights drawn from autobiographical and psychoanalytic theory, the thesis explores the relationship between the life and the work and illuminates the various processes by which Evans uses the raw material of her experiences to create and recreate an identity. This resulting self is multi-faceted and shifting, but a continuing thread is her aim to construct for herself the identity of writer. Writing, therefore, becomes a perfonnative act creating and reinforcing the desired identity. This thesis explores the significance of the body in Evans's texts: she not only perceives body as text but also intuits how the text might come to stand for the suffering body. The latter, the need of the writer to construct herself through language, becomes acute for Evans as her body fails and motivates the writing of her two pathographies. A Ray of Darkness (1952) is one of the first of its examples of the genre. I also demonstrate the various ways in which Evans's texts can be read in the light of the history of Modemism. I explore the way shifting borders and identities are portrayed in the texts, as well as their self reflexive concern with their own production and the blurring of the distinction between fiction and autobiography. The thesis shows the continuity and development of Evans's personal therapeutic ideology of writing through all her texts. Evans's subject is always herself, but crucially herself as an author intimately and passionately involved in the process of writing.

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