Abduction : the writing of a historical novel

MacLeod, Mhairead Ellen (2011) Abduction : the writing of a historical novel. Masters by Research by Creative Works, Queensland University of Technology.

[img] Mhairead MacLeod Thesis (PDF 1MB)
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This is a practice-led project consisting of a historical novel Abduction and related exegesis.

The novel is a third person intimate narrative set in the mid-nineteenth century and is based on actual events and persons caught up in, or furthering, the mass dispossession of small farmers in Scotland known as the ‘Clearances’. The narrative focuses on the situation in the Outer Hebrides and northern Scotland. It is based on documented facts leading up to a controversial trial in 1850 that arose because a twenty year old woman of the period (the central protagonist, Jess Mackenzie) eloped with a young farmer to escape her parent’s pressure to marry a rival suitor, himself a powerful lawyer and ‘factor’ at the centre of many of the Clearances. The young woman’s independent ideas were ahead of her time, and the decisions she made under great pressure were crucial in some dramatic events that unfolded in Scotland and later in the colony of Victoria, to which she and her new husband emigrated soon after the trial.

The exegesis is composed of two unequal parts. It briefly considers the development of the literary historical fiction genre in the nineteenth century with Walter Scott in particular, a genre found useful in representing women’s issues of the Victorian era by Victorian and contemporary authors. The exegesis also briefly considers the appropriateness of the fiction genre (as opposed to creative nonfiction) in creating the lived experience in a fact-based work. The major part of the exegesis is a detailed, reflective analysis of the problem-solving process involved in writing the novel, structured by reference to Kate Grenville’s Searching for the Secret River – a work of metawriting that explains her creative process in researching and writing historical fiction based on fact.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 47637
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research by Creative Works)
Supervisor: Olsson, Kris & Hawkes, Lesley
Additional Information: Thesis embargoed permanently on request of author.
Keywords: abduction, highland clearances, historical fiction, metawriting, nineteenth-century Melbourne, nineteenth-century Scotland
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Dec 2011 06:38
Last Modified: 23 May 2014 00:25

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