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In search of Utopia: a study of the role of German and Romanian academic and literary communities in the production and evaluation of Margaret Atwood’s Utopian/Dystopian fiction

Ivanovici, Cristina (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This study investigates the contribution of Romanian and German academic and literary communities to the formation of readerships for Margaret Atwood’s dystopian fiction and examines various conceptualisations of the Canadian writer as a literary celebrity in Romania and Germany by taking into account the response to and institutionalisation of the writer’s literary dystopias in the two countries both before and after the fall of communism in 1989. It aims to demonstrate that publishing, translation and cultural policies complicate the cultural reception of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian fiction in Eastern European countries and re-evaluates critical representations of Eastern European readerships and publishing contexts as invisible within the global literary field. By investigating the strategies which publishers, editors and translators employed in the dissemination and institutionalisation of Atwood’s work in Romania and Germany, this thesis examines paradigm shifts both in translation, publishing and marketing strategies and conceptualisations of literary celebrity as shaped by cultural state policies. To this end, the first chapter highlights representations of literary markets and readerships in the Atwood archive, and analyses how the Atwood literary archive values celebrity and translation. The second chapter charts the first translation projects which were carried out in both East Germany and communist Romania and points out how forms of censorship have impacted upon the production, dissemination and circulation of her work in translation. The third chapter draws upon interviews with Romanian academics and examines teaching and reading practices employed within a post-communist context. Finally, the study suggests how further examinations of the response to both Canadian and dystopian fiction within Eastern European contexts might proceed.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Fuller, Danielle
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of American and Canadian Studies
Subjects:PS American literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1716
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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