Alone Among Friends and How Memories of the Father Inform a Son's Understanding of Masculinity in the Novels of Per Petterson
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Part of my thesis is an original work of fiction that will be published by an independent literary press. Because of this, and the time that it takes for copy edits, pre-release press, and the usual backlog in the publishing of literary fiction, I would ask that, at present, an embargo of two years be placed on this dissertation to insure that no material is entered into the public domain.
A combination of an original work of fiction, Alone Among Friends, and a critical discussion of masculinity in the work of Per Petterson, this dissertation joins a growing conversation in the field of Masculine Studies about the depiction of men in literature. Written in a spare and realistic style, Alone Among Friends is a novella that hopes to explore ideas of masculinity, friendship, success, and failure present in the mindset of the American Millennial generation. Takings its cues from The Sun Also Rises, Light Years, and The Salt Point, Alone Among Friends examines the destructive nature of hyper-masculinity and highlights the danger of attaching too much meaning to external validation as the measuring stick for one's self worth. Moreover, Alone Among Friends is also influenced by the themes of memory and knowing found within the work of Per Petterson. "How Memories of the Father Inform a Son's Understanding of Masculinity in the Novels of Per Petterson" discusses the ways in which Per Petterson, a Norwegian writer, has been both influenced by American notions of masculinity and also managed to incorporate European aspects of family into his work to create a unique hybrid perspective that merges the American idea of the emancipated male protagonist with the European family centered narrative. By tracing Petterson's influences, this dissertation will attempt to show how Petterson is a logical heir to such American writers as Ernest Hemingway and Richard Ford, and it will argue that, by firmly grounding his novels in the point of view of sons that study every aspect of their fathers, Petterson inhabits a space that has long been absent from both American and Norwegian literature alike. Through the examination of Out Stealing Horses and In the Wake, this dissertation focuses on the varying ways in which these direct comparisons between father and son influence the son's perception of his own success and failure as a man.
PhD in English