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The relationship between the Aristotelian, Newtonian and holistic scientific paradigms and selected British detective fiction 1980-2010

The relationship between the Aristotelian, Newtonian and holistic scientific paradigms and selected British detective fiction 1980-2010

Goldsmith, Hilary Anne (2010) The relationship between the Aristotelian, Newtonian and holistic scientific paradigms and selected British detective fiction 1980-2010. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the changing relationship between key elements of the Aristotelian, Newtonian and holistic scientific paradigms and contemporary detective fiction. The work of scholars including N. Katherine Hayles, Martha A. Turner has applied Thomas S. Kuhn’s notion of scientific paradigms to literary works, especially those of the Victorian period. There seemed to be an absence, however, of research of a similar academic standard exploring the relationship between scientific worldviews and detective fiction. Extending their scholarship, this thesis seeks to open up debate in what was perceived to be an under-represented area of literary study.

The thesis begins by identifying the main precepts of the three paradigms. It then offers a chronological overview of the developing relationship between these precepts and detective fiction from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four (1890) to P.D.James’s The Black Tower (1975). The present state of this interaction is assessed through a detailed analysis of representative examples of the detective fiction of Reginald Hill, Barbara Nadel, and Quintin Jardine written between 1980 and 2010.

The thesis concludes that by presenting the interrelatedness characteristic of the holistic paradigm in a positive light, the work of Hill, Nadel and Jardine may facilitate a paradigm shift away from the dominant Newtonian paradigm towards a more holistic worldview. Further, contemporary detective fiction may have an important role to play in acclimatising its readership to a more inclusive worldview.

This research identifies several areas for future study. It would be interesting to extend this work to take account of detective fiction from other cultures. It would also be fascinating to investigate the relationship between structure (of both the narrative and the plot) and scientific pattern in order to assess just how far scientific concepts and detective fiction are interconnected.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.535258
Uncontrolled Keywords: British detective fiction, 20th Century,
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Humanities & Social Sciences
School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Department of Social, Political & Cultural Studies
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2017 16:56
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/6603

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