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The whole story: Language, narrative and salvation in Bunyan, Defoe, Grimmelshausen and Schnabel

Bertsch, Janet; (2000) The whole story: Language, narrative and salvation in Bunyan, Defoe, Grimmelshausen and Schnabel. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The period from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth century, a time of social, scientific and religious transition, witnesses the gradual birth of the modem novel. Four works from this transitional period, John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress (1678), Hans Jakob Christoph von Grimmelshausen's Der Abentheurliche Simplicissimus Teutsch (1668), Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), and Johann Gottfried Schnabel's Wunderliche Fata einiger See-Fahrer (1731-1743) share a common. Scriptural structure (Paradise - Fall - Wandering in the Sinful World - Salvation - Return to Earthly Paradise). The protagonists of these works seek to understand their position within the comprehensive divine plan for creation, perceiving the pattern of the Scriptural narrative which encapsulates the story of all of humanity on a microcosmic level. Their final movement to narrate their own stories is predicated on a recognition that each of these individual narratives participates in and, in a sense, rewrites the larger story, leading to self-reflexive narration which transcends pure self-referentiality in its appeal to a greater, shared literary framework. This thesis examines the search for spiritual assurance through reading and interpretation, in relation to certain central concerns: the nature of language and signification, man's position in creation, the value of worldly experience, and the effort to create an harmonious community. All of these issues appear against the background of the transition from an holistic to a more secular and fragmented world view, leading to tensions in the effort to reach, and to depict, a state of rest - the spiritual homeland or earthly paradise. The examination of the common elements of these four proto-novels is intended to deepen our understanding of the development of the novel, and of the literary and spiritual concerns amidst which the modern novel first appears.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The whole story: Language, narrative and salvation in Bunyan, Defoe, Grimmelshausen and Schnabel
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107548
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