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Time in the secondary world fantasies of Patricia A. McKillip

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posted on 2023-08-30, 14:10 authored by Audrey I. Taylor
This thesis seeks to examine time in the secondary world fantasies of Patricia A. McKillip. Very little work has been done previously on McKillip, and none examines such a broad range of her works. Taking a strict definition of secondary world, I investigate McKillip’s fantasy books that fit within this parameter to see whether there is a unifying principal behind time, in all its forms, in her work. Although time has been examined in fantasies that are obviously about time, very little has been done in the style of Mark Currie or Paul Riceour, who examine time in books that contain time but do not seem to be about time. I investigate time in terms of an overall chronotope, and argue that this seems to be one of the past. I argue that McKillip’s works and other fantasy books like hers have a grammar of the past, and that everything in their works is influenced, to a degree, by this grammar. Thematically organised chapters examine sixteen of McKillip’s immersive fantasies. The thesis begins with an investigation of the overall chronotope of McKillip’s books and the influence this has on her works. It then examines “active time”: time which is used in an active way to undo and heal wrongs of the past. McKillip’s use of legends to add depth and age to her stories is explored. Her pastoral works, those with a nostalgic connection with nature, are examined. The sometimes counterpoint of the pastoral, cities, are then investigated and found to be places of influenced by time passing in the form of age and political era. Lastly, several of McKillip’s characters are examined to show how time has affected them and affected their interactions with those around them.



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