Edgar Mittelholzer (1909-1965) and the shaping of his novels

Westmaas, Juanita Anne (2013). Edgar Mittelholzer (1909-1965) and the shaping of his novels. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis is a response to the critics of the pioneering novelist Edgar Mittelholzer whose second novel was instrumental in paving the way for other Caribbean novelists during the 1950s. Critics of Mittelholzer have accused him of fascism, racism, an unhealthy interest in sexually sensationalist topics and death. He has until the recent centenary of his birth been marginalised and understudied. The first chapter of this thesis outlines the areas of study that have thus far been focused on and explores the underlying methods and theoretical framework of this thesis. The second chapter focuses on the author’s background, career and contribution to the Caribbean. The third explores the genesis of Mittelholzer’s creativity with a view to revealing how intertextuality is key to an understanding of his novels. It also discusses his creative use of the Middle Eastern notion of the Jinnee. The fourth chapter offers a critical analysis of The Life and Death of Sylvia and demonstrates how Mittelholzer employed the themes of sex, race and death. The fifth Chapter establishes that the texts of Yogi Ramacharaka were his primary source of inspiration and that Mittelholzer’s novels can be best understood in terms of the Oriental Occultist’s teachings. The sixth chapter explores Mittelholzer’s racial identity and finds that his mixed ancestry was a key source of creative inspiration. The final chapter concludes that further research is needed into his work and that an exploration of the intertextual references serves to clarify the author’s objectives.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Centre for West African Studies
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/4367


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