Date of Award

1-1-1999

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Rossiter

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Ash

Abstract

This thesis has two main parts. The first comprises a collection of nineteen short stories, entitled The World-Swimmers. The second takes the form of an exegesis, 'Framing Fictions & Fictional Friendships,' which provides a critical commentary on the collection, and on the nexus of text and context. The stories vary in length from approximately 1,000 to over 4,000 words. Various writing styles are used to develop fictional explorations of a range of themes, which include: the relationship between the natural and the human worlds, the imbrication of local place and international space, obsession, entrapment, and desire. However, perhaps the most salient theme is that of the continuous interplay between ideas and daily life. The exegesis begins with a consideration of the concept of the artistic frame. A general theoretical analysis of framing, inspired by the chapter 'Parergon' in Jacques Derrida's The Truth in Painting, provides an anchor for more particular speculations about a few of the frames, no doubt actually many in number, which close over the unstable boundary of The World-Swimmers. The exegesis also argues that friendship-especially in its non-intuitive Forms-constitutes a stimulating 'matrix of thought' for considering the relationships that my collection has, to its thematic concerns, to the fiction of Jorge Luis Borges, and to certain literary genres. I suggest that The World- Swimmers is primarily a magical-realist text, which nevertheless presents many of the traits of postmodern writing.

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