Shifting realities : unreal spaces and real history in Rushdie, Swift, and Winterson
May 1, 2013
Department or Program
This thesis examines Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Graham Swift’s Waterland, and Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry in order to discuss how these texts use magical realism to affect our perception and understanding of history, not only in reference to specific periods of history, but also to historiographic methods used to represent that history. Using Henri Lefebvre’s work on the nature of space, the thesis argues that magical realist texts present narratives that deviate from normative notions of spaces in which well-known historical events have taken place, thus destabilizing the narratives that constitute the history and reality of those places. Instead of working within established rules of spatiality, magical realist texts champion a broader historiography that includes the suppressed narratives of excluded spaces.