A fabulist’s alternity & Lovecraft and the grotesque sublime

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Communication and Arts


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Associate Professor Susan Ash

Second Advisor

Dr Marcella Polain


The Creative Work:

The creative work is a novel titled A Fabulist’s Alternity. It is set in an unspecified time in the future, in Perth, Western Australia, and against the background of the social and natural consequences of climate change. Spread over four days, the story centres on two characters, Sin, a young woman without a future; and Ned, a convict who wanders through time bound to a man known simply as The Painter, searching for a lost book and a cloak. Parts of the city are set apart and run separately, known as co-ops. These co-ops are further alienated by the inclusion of alien entities and artefacts which have allowed the Painter and others to exploit a path between worlds and universes. Time and space are collapsed in a confrontation between the characters.

Critical Essay:

The critical essay explores an area of aesthetics through three novellas by the American writer, H. P. Lovecraft (1890 – 1937), analysing Lovecraft’s use of the sublime and the grotesque. This analysis employs the sublime as explained by Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797) in A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of The Sublime and the Beautiful (1757) and the technological sublime; and the grotesque as presented by Wolfgang Kayser (1906 – 1960) in The Grotesque in Art and Literature (1957) and Geoffrey Galt Harpham’s The Grotesque: Strategies of Contradiction in Art and Literature (2006). Through this analysis, I establish the grotesque sublime. The concept is then applied to my creative work, A Fabulist’s Alternity with a section on the discussion of artwork inspired by Lovecraft’s writing.

Access Note

Access to this thesis is restricted to the exegesis and to current ECU staff and students. Email request to library@ecu.edu.au

Access to this thesis is restricted. Please see the Access Note below for access details.