Emporia ESIRC

The artist as historian in the novels of E. L. Doctorow.

ESIRC/Manakin Repository

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.author Eck, Barbara.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-12-14T17:39:42Z
dc.date.available 2012-12-14T17:39:42Z
dc.date.created 1977 en_US
dc.date.issued 2012-12-14
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/2378
dc.description ii, 86 leaves en_US
dc.description.abstract This study shows how a new narrative persona, who acts as both artist and historian, develops through E. L. Doctorow's four novels: Welcome to Hard Times, Big as Life, The Book of Daniel, and Ragtime. In his novels, Doctorow examines the problem of recording events in a world divided between subject and object. This tension between internal and external reality not only problematizes many of his characters, but it underlies Doctorow's own theoretical study of novelistic form and traditional narrative devices. Both the author and his characters struggle with the same problems: how does the artist tell what happened? how does the artist align the subjective and the objective perspectives? As writers, the historians in Doctorow's first three novels attempt to tell the objective truth about what happened, but they confront their own Subjective limitations. In Welcome to Hard Times, Blue assumes that words can control the truth, but he discovers that words are bound by the subjectivity of personal experience. Wallace creighton, the historian in Big ~ Life, believes that he can capture the patterns of external reality, but when he finds no order, he is personally and subjectively overwhelmed. In The Book of Daniel, Daniel Isaacson hopes to find truth and order in internal reality; but he sees that words are bound by subjectivity, that there is no order, and that there is no truth. The problem of reconciling the tension between subjectivity and objectivity remains unsolved until Doctorow's fourth novel. He finally reconciles the subjective and the objective perspectives in Ragtime by creating an "anonymous narrative consciousness" who transcends the limitations of a single human perspective, yet at the same time, humanizes his subject matter. In this manner, he creates a new history--a "true" history that combines real events with the fictional inventions of the historical memory. Doctorow's novels are a study of the artist and the historian as well as historical fact and historical fiction. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Doctorow, E. L., 1931-Criticism and interpretation. en_US
dc.title The artist as historian in the novels of E. L. Doctorow. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.college las en_US
dc.advisor John Somer en_US
dc.department english, modern languages and literatures en_US

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record