Ashleigh Taylor Sullivan

Research Details

DEPT/SUBJECT AREA - English Literature

SUPERVISOR(S) - Dr Marie-Luise Kohlke and Dr Alice Barnaby

RESEARCH DEGREE (PhD/M.Phil/MA by Research) - PhD

THESIS TITLE - Daphne du Maurier: Gendering the Gothic

Research Synopsis

My research examines the ways in which Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) uses the Gothic as a device to explore her own gender identity through her fiction. While this is not a new concept, my focus differs from the established criticism on the author by considering her oeuvre as a whole.

Many critics have ignored large sections of du Maurier’s work, focusing primarily on her more popular novels. In contrast, I make much greater use of the biographical and archival material available, to explore du Maurier’s identification with both genders, her potential bisexuality, and the resulting internal conflict reflected in her writing. In this way my thesis cryptomically decodes the autobiographical traces ‘closeted’ within her writing to argue that she used her fiction as an oblique form of life-writing.

My research therefore combines various intersecting theoretical frameworks, namely the Gothic, gender theory, queer studies, and life writing and auto/biographical practice.

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