Standing Stone
: A Novel & Stepping Stones To Standing Stone: Critical Commentary

  • Jan Marie Nerenberg

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Standing Stone, a novel, and the accompanying commentary, Stepping Stones to Standing Stone, form this thesis. The title, Standing Stone, refers to both the Rollright Stones and the journey to self-actualisation of the American protagonist, Barbara Shaunaky, as she gradually develops inner strength and independence. In seeking to understand the mystery shrouding her birth, Barbara travels through contemporary Wales, back in time to nineteenth century England and earlier still to the fifteenth century and Mother Shipton to whom myth credits the formation of the Rollright Standing Stones. The maid/mother/crone triptych as archetype forms a repeated thread throughout the novel as an ancient choice affects consequence influencing each succeeding time period.

The commentary seeks to understand and classify Standing Stone within works of fiction. The nature of story is explored by examining what story is and how Standing Stone is positioned in relation to genre – specifically historic, supernatural, and magical realism as well as classification – particularly Young Adult, Adult and Crossover fiction. In doing so I explore the relation of plot and theme, language, symbols, archetypes, as well as fore- and backshadowing. Standing Stone is analysed by comparing the works of Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, Kate Mosse and others.
My intent in both Standing Stone and its accompanying analysis, Stepping Stones to Standing Stone, was to understand the concept of story; the classifications of story; and to examine and understand the term ‘Crossover’ in relation to fictive genre literature.
Date of Award15 Jan 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SponsorsJack Kent Cooke Foundation
SupervisorRosemary Dub (Supervisor) & Katherine Stansfield (Supervisor)

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