White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

Sexual Trauma, Psychosis, and Betrayal in Antonia White's Autobiographical Fiction: A Critical Examination of the Freudian Perspective

Newton, Marcia Anne (2015) Sexual Trauma, Psychosis, and Betrayal in Antonia White's Autobiographical Fiction: A Critical Examination of the Freudian Perspective. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

[img] Text (Doctoral Thesis)
Marcia Newton_Thesis_Final_Minor Corrections.docx
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

Download (281Kb)
[img]
Preview
Text (Access to Thesis Form)
Access-to-Thesis_Minor Corrections Completed_Newton.pdf
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

Download (273Kb) | Preview

Abstract

In Catholic writer Antonia White’s series of autobiographical novels, Frost in May, The Lost Traveller, The Sugar House, and Beyond the Glass, readers are presented with a Freudian Oedipal drama that sends the main protagonist spiraling into psychosis and then back into her father’s arms upon recovery. This trajectory draws a parallel with White’s history. Literary critics and biographers on White have suggested that she was a victim of father-daughter incest. My aim in this thesis, however, is not to prove that White was a victim of sexual abuse. I seek to illustrate the limitations and possibilities of validating sexual trauma in autobiographical fiction using White’s diaries as scaffolding for this examination. This thesis is divided into four chapters. Chapter One is an analysis of a problematic Oedipal drama in White’s autobiographical fiction that leads to a proposed theoretical conundrum in psychoanalytical concepts of sexual trauma and psychosis. Chapter Two is a study of the form and theory of the autobiographical novel and the author-protagonist relationship. Also, at the intersection of psychoanalytic and literary theoretical paradigms, I explore the extent to which White’s metaphorical descriptions of psychosis generate a coherent depiction of self and lived traumatic experience within the confines of an Oedipal narrative. In so doing, I propose a space be carved for White’s experiences to be taken seriously as authentic expressions of trauma. Chapter Three explores larger socio-cultural patriarchal attitudes of women’s sexuality in which I draw parallels between Freud’s construction of the incest barrier and religious notions of female sexuality. In Chapter Four I juxtapose literary and clinical writings of contemporary trends on sexual trauma, memory, and betrayal to illustrate the shifts in focus and yet subtle presence of Freud’s Oedipus complex theory in Western society today.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Health and Related Research (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.648017
Depositing User: Dr Marcia Anne Newton
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 08:12
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 12:10
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9169

You do not need to contact us to get a copy of this thesis. Please use the 'Download' link(s) above to get a copy.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)