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Seven Senses of the City : Urban Spacetime and Sensory Memory in Contemporary Sinophone Fiction

Møller-Olsen, Astrid LU (2019)
Abstract
The objective of this dissertation is to investigate the narrative mechanisms and imagery that fictional works employ to conceptualize and communicate complex human experiences of space, time and memory. Furthermore, this study shows how contemporary cities change the way we think about such basic concepts by analyzing narratives that employ and encourage multisensory, spatiotemporal understandings of reality characterized by permeable boundaries between the material, social and imaginary domains.

Through a triangular comparative analysis of six literary works by authors from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei, I analyze how contemporary fiction narrates the complex relationships between body, memory and cityscape. The format is a... (More)
The objective of this dissertation is to investigate the narrative mechanisms and imagery that fictional works employ to conceptualize and communicate complex human experiences of space, time and memory. Furthermore, this study shows how contemporary cities change the way we think about such basic concepts by analyzing narratives that employ and encourage multisensory, spatiotemporal understandings of reality characterized by permeable boundaries between the material, social and imaginary domains.

Through a triangular comparative analysis of six literary works by authors from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei, I analyze how contemporary fiction narrates the complex relationships between body, memory and cityscape. The format is a kaleidoscopic comparison that analyzes the six literary works across chapters throughout the dissertation, rather than chapter by chapter as it is usually done in studies of literature. I employ spatiotemporal narrative analysis, a method I have developed by combining narratological tools for studying time in fiction with recent critical concepts of spatiality with a particular focus on narrative voice and reliability (hereunder the inaccuracy of memory), structural non-linearity (such as mental time travel) and the construction of self-reflectively fictional cities as loci for plot development.

Through a structural framework that I call literary sensory studies, and which consist of reimagined and metaphorically extended sensory modes, I engage with themes of scented nostalgia, flavors in fiction, walking as method, literary cartography, the melody of language, gendered cityscapes, metafictional dreams and rhythmic senses of time. I conclude that contemporary cities change the way we think about time, space and memory, and affect how we make sense of such changes through narrative.
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • professor Jie Lu, University of the Pacific
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
literary sensory studies, sensory studies, urban fiction, senses, Sinophone fiction, comparative literature, Chinese literature, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, literary studies, spacetime, spatiality, narratology, rhythmanalysis
pages
287 pages
publisher
Lund University
defense location
LUX B152
defense date
2019-01-21 14:15:00
ISBN
978-91-88899-75-0
978-91-88899-76-7
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
93aefba4-5663-45f2-b4b1-e07364f90b01
date added to LUP
2019-11-26 17:46:27
date last changed
2019-11-28 10:46:43
@phdthesis{93aefba4-5663-45f2-b4b1-e07364f90b01,
  abstract     = {The objective of this dissertation is to investigate the narrative mechanisms and imagery that fictional works employ to conceptualize and communicate complex human experiences of space, time and memory. Furthermore, this study shows how contemporary cities change the way we think about such basic concepts by analyzing narratives that employ and encourage multisensory, spatiotemporal understandings of reality characterized by permeable boundaries between the material, social and imaginary domains.<br/><br/>Through a triangular comparative analysis of six literary works by authors from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei, I analyze how contemporary fiction narrates the complex relationships between body, memory and cityscape. The format is a kaleidoscopic comparison that analyzes the six literary works across chapters throughout the dissertation, rather than chapter by chapter as it is usually done in studies of literature. I employ spatiotemporal narrative analysis, a method I have developed by combining narratological tools for studying time in fiction with recent critical concepts of spatiality with a particular focus on narrative voice and reliability (hereunder the inaccuracy of memory), structural non-linearity (such as mental time travel) and the construction of self-reflectively fictional cities as loci for plot development. <br/><br/>Through a structural framework that I call literary sensory studies, and which consist of reimagined and metaphorically extended sensory modes, I engage with themes of scented nostalgia, flavors in fiction, walking as method, literary cartography, the melody of language, gendered cityscapes, metafictional dreams and rhythmic senses of time. I conclude that contemporary cities change the way we think about time, space and memory, and affect how we make sense of such changes through narrative.<br/>},
  author       = {Møller-Olsen, Astrid},
  isbn         = {978-91-88899-75-0},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {11},
  publisher    = {Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Seven Senses of the City : Urban Spacetime and Sensory Memory in Contemporary Sinophone Fiction},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/72452254/Astrid_M_ller_Olsen_SevenSensesCity_.pdf},
  year         = {2019},
}