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The Gown in Town and the Question of Centrality
The Gown in Town and the Question of Centrality

Author(s): Cristina Diamant
Subject(s): Novel, British Literature
Published by: Editura Universitatii LUCIAN BLAGA din Sibiu
Keywords: high culture; low culture; hegemony; academia; centre; periphery;

Summary/Abstract: The present essay aims to discuss the current state of the authority held by the academia over society at large as seen in contemporary British novels such as Waterland (1983) by Graham Swift, Nice Work (1988) by David Lodge, and Possession (1990) by A. S. Byatt. Far from typecasting academics as ivory tower dwellers out of touch with reality, these novels offer a nuanced portrayal of the intricate relationships between the observers of contingency and those dealing with meta-texts. This tension is all the more interesting since the objects of our gaze also deal with the humanities, and the change of cultural framing leaves them without their Grand Narrative of Enlightenment. The age-old conflict between the Gown and the Town is complicated further in postmodernity when periphery is given its own carnivalesque voice and culture itself can now wander the streets, as well. Therefore, is the question of power outdated or simply re-framed?

  • Issue Year: 2018
  • Issue No: 1-2
  • Page Range: 7-28
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: English