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Unpublished Papers | Theses & Dissertations


Schröder, Markus.  "Nice guys finish last: Sozialkritik in den Romanen T. Coraghessan Boyle."    Die Blaue Eule, Essen 1997, 257 p. ISBN: 3-89206-840-2.  Here is an excerpt, primarily in German; TCB quotes are in English.

Sections of Books

Adams, Michael.  "T. Coraghessan Boyle."  DLB Yearbook 1986: 281-286.

Babel, Isaak; Beckett, Samuel; Boyle, T. Coraghessan.; Davenport, Guy.; Dixon, Stephen;  James, M. R.; Ligotti, Thomas.; Michaels,  Leonard; Phillips, Jayne Anne; West, Nathanael.  "Short Story Criticism:  Excerpts from Criticism of the Works of Short Fiction Writers." Gale Research , Inc. 16 (1994).  ISBN: 0810389312.

Bery, Ashok (editor and intro.).  "'It's a Free Country': Visions of Hybridity in the Metropolis." Houndmills, England-New York, NY; Macmillan-St. Martin's (2000): 81-92.  Mukherjee, Bharati - compared to Boyle, T. Coraghessan - Jasmine - The Tortilla Curtain - treatment of cross-cultural contact - relationship to hybridity - American identity.

Carnes, Mark.  "Novel History : Historians & Novelists Confront America's Past (and Each Other)."  New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2001, 336 p.  ISBN: 0-6848-5765-0.  How  accurately 20 authors reflect history in their novels is studied in these essays.  Each novelist is paired with an author; in this case, T. Coraghessan Boyle and historian Michael Kammen discuss Boyle's book, "World's End."

Crunden, Robert.  "A Brief History of American Culture."  Paragon House, 1994.  363 p.  ISBN 1557787050. 

DeCurtis, Anthony.  "Rocking My Life Away: Writing about Music and Other Matters." Duke
University Press, 348 p. (contains "A Punk's Past Recaptured."  Rolling Stone 14 January 1988: 54-7. )

Dewey, Joseph.  "Novels from Reagan's America: A New Realism."  University Press of Florida, 1999. 256p.  ISBN 0-8130-1714-9. 

Douglas, Christopher.  "Reciting America: Culture and Cliché in Contemporary U.S. Fiction."  University of Illinois Press, 2001, 240 p.  ISBN: 0-252-02603-9. 

Hart, James David.  "The Oxford Companion to American Literature."  Oxford University Press, 1995.  779 p.  ISBN 0195065484.  Contains biographical entry.

Hume, Katherine.  "American Dream, American Nightmare: Fiction Since 1960."  University of Illinois Press, 2000, 360 p.  ISBN  0-252-02556-3.

Miller, Laura with Adam Begley (editors).  "The Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors."  New York: Penguin Books, 2000, 455 p..  ISBN 0-14-028088-X.  Chapter on Boyle by Peter Kurth, pp. 56-57.

Waxler and Trounstine, Jean R. (editors).  "Changing Lives Through Literature."  University of Notre Dame Press, 1999.  348 p.  ISBN 0268008396. 

Witte, Arnd.  "Fremd- und Eigenerfahrung in Westafrika: Am Beispiel von Gertraud Heises Reise in die schwarze Haut und T. Coraghessan Boyle's 'Water Music'."  Heidelberg:  Carl Winter Univ.-verl. (1995): 374-390.  In German.

Journal Articles

Dalrymple, Terence A.  "T.C. Boyle as Tragedian, Robert Johnson as Tragic Hero: An Analysis of Boyle's Story 'Stones in My Passway, Hellhound on My Trail'."  Short Story 8:1 (Spring 2000) 69-77.  ISSN: 1052-648X.  In English.

D'haen, Theo.  "The Return of History and Minorization of New York: T. Coraghessan Boyle and Richard Russo."  Revue Française d'Études Americaines 17:62 (November 1994) 393-403.  ISSN: 0397-7870.  In English.

Douglas, Christopher.  "Tracking 'The Wild Man of the Green Swamp': Orientalism, Clichés, and the Preoccupation of Language."  English Studies in Canada 23:3 (September, 1997): 331-355.  Author's Note: This article basically tracks down the real event that Boyle's novel "East Is East" is based on -- a Taiwanese merchant sailor who jumped ship off Florida in 1974 and lived in the Green Swamp not too far from Disneyworld for eight months until he was captured by authorities.  The article traces his this man's reception in terms of popular tv shows, news reports of Japanese war holdouts on Pacific islands in the decades following 1945, the Vietnam war, and even a different fictional retelling of this actual event in Maxine Hong Kingston's China Men (1980).  This article is, I must say, a must read for those interested in  "East is East" and is, as far as I know, the only work to have discovered the true incident upon which the novel is based.

Law, Danielle.  "Caught in the Current: Plotting History in "Water Music."  In-Between:  Essays and Studies in Literary Criticism 5:1 (March 1995): 41:50.  In English.

Marin, Paco.  "Entrevista a T. Coraghessan Boyle: Un Autor moderamente Terrenal." Quimera: Revista de Literatura 111 (July 1992): 32-38.  ISSN: 0211-3325.  In Spanish.

Pope, Dan.  "A Different Kind of Post-Modernism."  The Gettysburg Review 3:4 (Autumn 1990): 658-669.  ISSN: 0898-4557.  In English.

Raabe, David M.  "Boyle's ' Descent of Man'."  Explicator 58:4 (Summer 2000): 223-226.  ISSN: 0014-4940.  In English.

Schenker, Daniel.  "A Samurai in the South: Cross-Cultural Disaster in T. Coraghessan Boyle's 'East Is East'."  The Southern Quarterly: A Journal of the Arts in the South 34:1 (Fall 1995): 70-80.  ISSN: 0038-4496.  In English.

Stoneham, Geraldine.  "'It's a Free Country': Bharati Mukherjee's Vision of Hybridity in the Metropolis." Wasafiri: Journal of Caribbean, African, Asian and Associated Literatures and Film 24 (Autumn 1996): 18-21.  ISSN: 0269-0055.  In English.

"T. Coraghessan Boyle."  Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 36: 56-64.

"T(homas) Coraghessan Boyle: 'World's End'; The PEN/Faulkner Award: Fiction." Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 55: 105-111.

Vaid, Krishna Baldev.  "Franz Kafka Writes to T. Coraghessan Boyle."  Michigan Quarterly  Review 35:3 (Summer 1996): 53-57.  ISSN: 0026-2420.  In English.

Walker, Michael.  "Boyle's 'Greasy Lake' and the Moral Failure of Postmodernism."  Studies in Short Fiction 31:2 (Spring 1994): 247-255.  ISSN: 0039-3789.  In English.

Unpublished Papers

"A Symposium on Contemporary American Fiction Featuring T. Coraghessan Boyle" was held at his alma mater, the State University of New York at Potsdam on September 28-30, 1995.  Papers presented there are designated with an asterisk (*).  I hope to be able to provide links to them at a future date if they become available.

Papers listed without an asterisk are derived from other sources.

*Aldridge, John W.  "The Bountifully Talented Mr. Boyle.  SUNY Potsdam, New York, September 29, 1995. 

Alexander, Mary.  The Role of Mass Media in Inter-cultural Miscommunication [East Is East] . University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, USVI, April 24-26, 1998.

*Anderson, Mark A.  "'World's End': A Paradigm for the Fiction of T.C. Boyle."  SUNY Potsdam,
NY, September, 29, 1995.

*Ashley, L.R.N.  "New Kid on the Block: The Critical Reception of T.C. Boyle's 'Water Music'." 
Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY, September 30, 1995. 

*Bellamy, Joe David.  "Dazzingly Excesses--The Short Fiction of T. Coraghessan Boyle." Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY, September 29, 1995. 

*Bronson, Tammy J.  "Emptiness and Despair: Christian Consolation in Milton, Arnold, and Boyle."  SUNY Potsdam, New York, September 28, 1995. 

Brunner, Elizabeth. Ecstasy in a Frog Pond:  T. Coraghessan Boyle and the Sublime.  1996, for Literary Theory class at Cal Poly. 

*Conroe, Jack.  "Looking for Boyle in Updike."  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY, September 30, 1995. 

*Cooke, Stewart J.  "Revisiting the Heart of Darkness: Water Music as a New, Old Novel.  McGill University.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY, September 30, 1995.

*Davis, Matthew R.  "Sign, Symbol, Token and Signifier: Reading 'World's End'."  University of Washington.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY, September 29, 1995. 

*De Bellis, Jack.  "Eating Disorders and Disorderly Eating in Boyle and Updike."  Lehigh University.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY,  September 30, 1995. 

*Dewey, Joseph.  "In the Jaws of the (S)napping Turtle: Deidrich Knickerbocker, 'World's End', and Chaos Theory. " University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.   Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY,  September 29, 1995. 

*Douglas, Christopher.  "Dreaming America: Cliches in T.C. Boyle's 'East Is East' and Russell Banks' 'Continental Drift'."  University of Toronto.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY, September 29, 1995. 

*Friedman, Sorel.  "And never the twain shall meet: insiders and outsiders in 'East Is East'." University of Montreal.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY,  September 29, 1995. 

*Griffin, William Earl.  "Dynamical Structure in T.C. Boyle's 'Rupert Beersley and the Beggar Master of Sivani-Hoota'." SUNY Potsdam, New York, September 28, 1995.   e-mail: 

Giuliano, Matt.  Haste in the Short Stories of T.C. Boyle.  Brighton High School, 1997. 

Harris, Jeffrey P. Tragedy in the Works of T. Coraghessan Boyle.  <> 

*Henry, Matthew. Fact or Fiction: Historical Indeterminacy in T. Coraghessan Boyle's "Water Music."  Unpublished  Lecture.  Syracuse University, NY.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY, September 30, 1995. 

*Knapp, Vincent J.  "T. Coraghessan Boyle and Modern Existentialism."   Unpublished Lecture.  SUNY Potsdam, September 29, 1995. 

*Lang, James M., Ph.D.   "The Construction of History in T.C. Boyle's 'World's End'."  Unpublished Lecture.  Northwestern University.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, New York,  September 29, 1995. 132 Elm St., Glenview, IL  60025; (847) 657-0873;  e-mail:

*Levine, Nancy and Jason Mauro.  "The Road to Wellville: Is the Academy the 'Peristaltic Optimum?'"  University of North Florida.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY,  September 30, 1995. 

Loibnegger, Andrea. Issues of the United States-Mexican Borderland with a Focus on T.C. Boyle's The Tortilla CurtainSE 551.501 Core Problems in American Studies: Ethnicity; Maureen Devine, Wintersemester 2000/2001.  In PDF format, 79.7 KB.

*Lynch, James.  "T.C. Boyle: Class of '68."  Orange County (California) Community College. Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY, September 29, 1995.

*Ma, Wentong.  "The Meaning of Death in Kafka and Boyle.   SUNY Binghamton.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY,  September 30, 1995. 

*Martin, Richard.  "History and Moment: Micro-Time and Macro-Time in T. Coraghessan Boyle's Fiction."  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY, September 29, 1995. 

*McNally, John.  "With Affection and Just a Bit of Shame from Elassoma Okefenoke, Or, How I Intend to  Carve and Entire Career Out of One Semester as T.C. Boyle's Research Assistant." University of Nebraska at Lincoln.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY, September 30, 1995. 

*Nolan, Ernest.  "Mongrels Amok in the City of Brotherly Love: Cultural Identity and Insoluable Conflicts in T.C. Boyle's 'East Is East'."  Madonna University, Livonia,  Michigan.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, New York, September 29, 1995.

Nolan, Ernest.  "Presentation on T. C. Boyle's 'World's End'."   Baldwin Public Library Birmingham, MI and Michigan Humanities Council.  Madonna University, Livonia,  Michigan, October 18, 1995.

Schönthier. Melanie.   "Der Entwicklungsprozess der Protagonenistenpaare und ihr Verhältnis zur amerikanischen Gesellschaft in T.C. Boyles "The Tortilla Curtain."  ("The process of development of the protagonists and their relation to the American society in The Tortilla Curtain.")  University of Munich, 2002:28 pages. Melanie writes that she is "studying American cultural history, American literature and politics at the University of Munich and I wrote this paper for a seminar in American literature called 'What´s new? From realism to neo-realism'."  Note: This paper is written in German.

*Staunton, John A.  "T. Coraghessan Boyle's Extinction Tales: Angelism, Bestialism, and  Descent of Man."  Fordham University.  Presented at SUNY Potsdam, NY,  September 30,  1995. 

Vorrasi, John.  "History Recycled in the Works of T.C. Boyle." <>

Theses & Dissertations

Bonis, Andrea Eszter.  "Tragic Misunderstanding: Cultural Misconceptions and the Relativity of  Perception in T. Coraghessan Boyle's 'East Is East'."  California State University, Long Beach, 1994: 121 pp.  Degree : M.A..  Advisor: Gene L. Dinielli. 

The underlying assumption of this thesis is that T. Coraghessan Boyle deserves more serious critical attention than he has been given. Boyle is an  outstandingcontemporary American writer who should be noted not only for his masterly  command of language, but for the ideas he wants to communicate as well. East Is East is a novel that deals with issues of  communication and perception.  Through the tragicomical story of a Japanese sailor's misadventures in Georgia, Boyle shows how cultural misconceptions and the limitations of perspective prevent the kind of meaningful communication that could enhance the characters' lives.  There is no redemption for Hiro Tanaka within the world of the novel;  his quest for the American Dream turns into a living nightmare.  The only hope lies in artistic communication: the readers of East Is East may benefit from a higher awareness of the moral issues Boyle raises in his novel.
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Cooke, Stewart Jon.  "Received Melodies: The New, Old Novel."  McGill University (Canada), 1988.  Degree: Ph.D. 

New, old novels, contemporary fictions that parody the forms, conventions, and devices of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels, form a significant and increasingly popular subclass of postmodernist fiction.  Paradoxically combining realistic and metafictional conventions, these works establish an ironic dialogue with the past, employing yet simultaneously subverting traditional fictional techniques.

In this dissertation, I subject five new, old novels--John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor and LETTERS, Erica Jong's Fanny, T. Coraghessan Boyle's Water Music, and John Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman--to a detailed analysis, which compares the parodic role of archaic devices in each contemporary novel to the serious use made of such devices in the past. I argue that new, old novels, by juxtaposing old and new world views, foreground the ontological concerns of fiction and suggest that literary representation is constitutive rather than imitative of reality. Their examination of the relationship between fiction and reality places them at the centre of contemporary concern.
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Donadieu, Marc Vincent. American Picaresque: The Early Novels of T. Coraghessan Boyle.  University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2000: 219 pp.  Degree: Ph. D.  Advisor:  Dr. Mary Ann Wilson.

T. Coraghessan Boyle is a contemporary American writer who has published seven novels and four collections of short stories so far, yet very little has been written about his work.  His early novels use many of the protean conventions of picaresque fiction: episodic structure, biting social satire, first-person narration, the themes of alienation, travel, characters escaping their pasts and reinventing themselves, and frequent accidents to show the role of fortune in life, all of which are colored with a late twentieth-century American sensibility.  In Water Music (1980), Budding Prospects (1984),World's End (1987), and The Road  to Wellville (1993) Boyle uses the picaresque genre to generate scathing, insightful and often humorous observations of human folly, hypocrisy, and cruelty through a colorful
gallery of con-artists, reprobates, social outcasts and other such antiheroic characters to explore the darker side of human experiences and the meanings behind them....
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Douglas, Christopher Robins Dunfield.  "Reciting America: Repetition and the Cultural Self-Sufficiency of  the United States in the Fiction of Russell Banks, Ralph Ellison, Maxine Hong Kingston, and T. Coraghessan Boyle."  University of Toronto (Canada), 1997: ;Degree: Ph.D.  Advisor: Linda Hutcheon.  ISBN: 0-612-27638-4.

This dissertation argues that several post-Second World War American works of fiction dramatize the way in which American identity is assumed by its citizens, largely through the repetition, recitation, and performance of the different kinds of American discourses by which the United States talks about itself to itself, and to others. These discourses, which provide the narrative patterns, vocabularies, mythologies, and explanations whereby American individuals conceptualize both their relation to the social real of the United States and to each other, are found, to use Mikhail Bakhtin's suggestive image, already existing in "other people's mouths" (Dialogic 294). This dissertation begins by theorizing the relation between language and consciousness, and the role of irony and the cliche in the processes of citing, performing, and repeating, with or without apparent difference, the social discourse which the individual finds in others' mouths.

.....The Conclusion looks at T. Coraghessan Boyle's East is East, and suggests that the racial, racist cliché is a type of "preoccupied" signification, a form of repeated discourse which short-circuits its flexibility in representing the real.... 
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Grossmann, Roland.  "California as Realistic and Symbolic Setting in the Literature of John Steinbeck and T.  Coraghessan Boyle."  Georg-August-Universitat, Gottengen, Germany.  (In English.) 
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Gruesser, John Cullen.  "White on Black: Non-Black Literature about Africa Since 1945."  University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1989: 401 pp.  Degree : Ph.D.  Advisor: John O. Lyons.

Building on the work of Christopher Miller, this study examines contemporary twentieth  literature about Africa in English by non-black outsiders. By the early  century, three means of depicting the continent, all imbued with Africanist discourse, had been firmly established: the political assessment, going native, and fantasy traditions. Outside writing about Africa since 1945 comprises three generations that descend directly from the dominant traditions and a fourth category that deliberately eschews them. 

Including books by Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, and Saul Bellow, the first generation largely ignores the political changes occurring in Africa during the twilight of the colonial era.  These authors exhibit little deviation from the traditions that reached their acme as much as sixty years earlier in the works of Winston Churchill, Joseph Conrad, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Writing primarily in the 1970s, second generation authors, such as V. S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux, and John Updike, are more openly political than their predecessors. However, their works amount to Africanist adjustments to post-colonial conditions. In the
1980s Helen Winternitz, Jonathan Raban, Maria Thomas, and J. G. Ballard, while still relying on the established traditions, consciously acknowledge or actively work to subvert them. Nevertheless, these third generation writers occasionally revert to Africanist cliches. Authors of the fourth category, also consisting of works from the 1980s, go a step further by deliberately avoiding the dominant traditions. Rather than ignoring or explaining away inconsistencies in the story of the West's relationship with Africa, William Boyd, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Peter Dickinson, and William Duggan focus on the anomalies. Their works evince not only the metaconsciousness of the third generation but also an awareness that in order to render Africa more accurately history itself must be rewritten.
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Paniccia Carden, Mary Elizabeth.  "Sons and Daughters of Self-Made Men: Nation-Building  and Gender Construction in Modern and Contemporary American Novels."  State University of New York at Binghamton, 1997: 241 pp.  Degree : Ph.D.

In Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson suggests that 'the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately it is this fraternity that makes it possible...for so many millions of people...willingly to die for such limited imaginings.' Explicating the modern vision of  nation-ness in terms connoting both physicality and communality--deep and horizontal, comradeship and fraternity--Anderson illustrates the collapse of the nation's spaces with its people. What he does not note, however, is that this collapse of spaces and subjects genders the imagined community male;  his national fraternity conflates the male citizen with the masculine space and spirit of the nation. Taking this gendered national  imaginary as its starting point, my dissertation explores the interpenetrations of sexed spaces and subjects American authors produce in response to male-centered narratives of American history and identity.

Reading the figure of the self-made man as the privileged signifier of America, I suggest that the dominant discourses of the nation project nation-building into the libidinal register of heterosexual desire and help to engender American citizens by creating (or denying) an erotic investment in the national romance. While the mythologized figure of the self-made man functions as a powerful tool for maintaining patriarchal values and practices, as the marker of an impossibly patriarchal order he also stands in for an impossible Americanness. Exploring the gendered dynamics of self-making and nation-building constructed in Willa Cather's O Pioneers! and My Antonia, William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and Go Down, Moses, Ann Petry's The Street, John Edgar Wideman's Philadelphia Fire, Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres, and T. Coraghessan Boyle's World's End, I argue that this paradox leads to cultural and individual amnesias, but also allows for resistant re-rememberings of history. As the primary fetish for national desire, the self-made man includes and excludes all Americans in various and differing ways, so that subjects of the nation occupy the awkward and ambivalent position of simultaneous identification and dis-identification with him.
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Preimesberger, Paul.  "Wise Guy: The Career of T. Coraghessan Boyle."  University of Idaho, 1994: 74 pp.  Degree: M.A.  LC: PS3552.O95.
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Schäfer, SandraNahrung und Gesundheit in Ausgewahlten Werken T.C. BoylesUniversitat/Gesamthochschule Paderborn, 2001: 74 pp.

ABSTRACT:  Although I cannot read German, thanks to Sandra's previous correspondence, I know that the subject of this paper is "Health and Food in the Work of T. Coraghessan Boyle."
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Scott, Robert Francis.  "The Reinvention of the Eighteenth-Century Novel in Contemporary  British and American Fiction."  Michigan State University, 1994: 229 pp. Degree : Ph.D.

This dissertation examines the 'reinvention' of the eighteenth-century novel in contemporary British and American fiction as a discernible and sustained literary movement. The fact that eight of the twelve works considered in this study were published in or after 1980 suggests that this tendency toward reinvention is, by and large, a quite recent literary phenomenon. My use of the term 'reinvention' raises a series of important questions: What  constitutes 'reinvention'? Does it consist primarily of re-writing or  re-presenting an earlier work? How can we distinguish between mere  literary allusion or ventriloquism and true reinvention? Moreover, why should contemporary novelists wish to reinvent a past literary form at all and, in particular, why should the eighteenth-century novel appear to be such an attractive model? Most importantly, what is the impetus behind such a literary movement? These are the fundamental questions this dissertation proposes to answer.
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Shelffo, Andrew James.  "Satiric Ambition: The Self-Conscious Author in the Short Stories of T. Coraghessan Boyle."  Drew University, 1998:  144pp.  Degree : Ph.D.  Advisor: Merrill Skaggs.

This paper examines how T. Coraghessan Boyle satirizes society at large, other writers, and himself. He does this in his short stories by creating a unique and useful authorial image; by updating and rewriting other authors in his stories; and by expanding upon his image outside of his fiction, in interviews and public appearances. Boyle is an author acutely aware of the tenuous position authors hold in today's society, and he makes this self-awareness the basis of many of his stories. Rather than bemoaning his fate, however, he seeks to turn his disadvantages--his belatedness, his dependence upon an audience that may misinterpret him, and his alluring past--to his advantage.  Thus, we see an author who often celebrates his debt to other authors, commiserates with his audience about the curent state of the world, and glorifies his self-abusive past.

 Chapter One examines how important the short story form is for Boyle, how he seeks to make connections by writing them, and how he satirizes with them. Chapter Two looks at how Boyle expands his satire by fostering a primarily satiric image of himself. Chapter Three explains how Boyle expands his satire once again by borrowing plot devices from other writers to use in his own short stories. Chapter Four shows how Boyle uses his short stories to examine his own role as a writer, and Chapter Five explores Boyle's awareness of the ways books are often misused and how this affects him as an author.
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Velcic, Vlatka.  "Breaking the 'Conspiracy of Silence': Novelistic Portrayals of the Sixties and the Left in Doctorow, Boyle, DeLillo, and Pynchon."  University of California, Los Angeles, 1995: 194 pp.  Degree: Ph.D.  Advisor: Robert M.Maniquis.

While literature of and about the American Left before World War Two has been thoroughly researched and examined, my dissertation opens a critical discourse on fictional representations of the Left in the sixties and thereby brings this lively topic of contemporary cultural, social, and historical studies to literary studies. I focus on Doctorow's Book of Daniel, DeLillo's Libra, Boyle's World's End, and Pynchon's Vineland, which are American postmodern novels that offer extensive portrayals of the American Left in the sixties. 

Through detailed textual analyses I uncover an array of suppressed meanings in these novels contributing to a depiction of Leftists as perverts, traitors, and murderers. I discover media images of Lee Harvey Oswald serving as a 'politically unconscious' blueprint behind these unfavorable portrayals of Leftists. It is not surprising then that Leftists--a "political Other" in the postmodern novel--are cast in ambiguous roles; they appear responsible for the political violence which erupted in the late sixties nationwide, but they also lead the reader towards concealed entrances into utopian spaces, beyond contemporary ideology.

My analyses of the typically postmodern views on History presented in these four novels reveal the inability of these mainstream postmodern novelists to take a radically critical stand on social, cultural, and historical issues relevant for the sixties and indicative of late-capitalism in the United States. The lack of radical social critique in the postmodern American novel contrasts not only some modernist portrayals of the American Left before World War Two, but also contemporary novels about the Left and the sixties written by women and minorities.
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Weisse, Jens.  "Geschichtskonstruktion und Geschichtssatire in T.C. Boyle's World's End."  Universität Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany, 2000: 91 pp.  Degree: ,  Advisor: Dr. Werner Reinhart.  This paper is written in German.
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© Sandye Utley, 2000-2002

Last Page Update:  1 June 2002