Shifting Territories

  • Kiare Ladner

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis in Creative Writing is presented in two sections: the first, Shifting Territories is made up of seven short stories and a novella; the second, „Searching for Lightness: A Critical Commentary for Shifting Territories‟, is an essay centred on Italo Calvino‟s concept of lightness, including a discussion of its relevance to my own writing. The short stories and novella of Shifting Territories share certain conceptual preoccupations. Set in South Africa, England and Wales with characters of different ages, ethnic identities and sexualities, the stories are all concerned with loss, the reinvention of the self and transgression; sub-themes include death, fantasy, guilt, delusion and alienation. Another conceptual preoccupation is with the way the stories are told, the attempt to bring lightness to dark subject matter, largely by means of humour and an oblique perspective. „Searching for Lightness: A Critical Commentary for Shifting Territories‟ is divided into four chapters. It begins by trying to fathom what Calvino meant by „lightness‟. It then looks at „heaviness‟ as a way to better understand lightness by knowing its opposite. After examining the features of heaviness in a few novels, it moves on to discuss lightness in short stories, particularly two stories by Ali Smith. The conclusion explains the influence of Calvino‟s ideas on my perspective as a writer and on my fiction.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorMatthew Francis (Supervisor)

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