'Anywhere Out of the World': Restlessness in the work of Bruce Chatwin
Chatwin, Jonathan Michael
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis is centrally concerned with the theme of restlessness within the work of the British author Bruce Chatwin. Critical interpretation of Chatwin’s work has tended to focus on the generic and political status of the five full-length works he produced during his lifetime, exploring the theoretical implications of the author’s formal approach. This concentration on the structural and ideological elements of Chatwin’s creative output has resulted in the substantive thematic material of the works being somewhat overlooked. The following analysis intends to redress this balance, focussing specifically on the creative representation of the key theme of restlessness within Chatwin’s body of work. This thesis will explore the topic of restlessness through an analysis of both the author’s published work and the embargoed archive of Chatwin’s notebooks, diaries and manuscripts that resides in the Bodleian Library, the majority of which has never before been made available to critical scrutiny. Drawing on this important and previously unstudied archive, which includes the manuscript of Chatwin’s first unpublished work, known as “The Nomadic Alternative”, the following thesis will examine the origins and development of the theme of restlessness, which can be seen as Chatwin’s chief literary preoccupation; a condition that he perceived as endemic to the human species, and which he argued crucially influenced both the individual possibility of discovering satisfaction in one’s life and the wider likelihood of attaining social harmony. Tracing Chatwin’s interest in the subject from its earliest literary manifestation in “The Nomadic Alternative”, this thesis intends to document the development of the author’s consistent engagement with the notion of restlessness, examining both his literary representation of the affliction as well as presenting an analysis of his theory of human movement.
PhD in English