Bodies of Water: Reimagining the Eulogist

Lewis, Katriona. 2022. Bodies of Water: Reimagining the Eulogist. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis in Creative and Critical Writing is comprised of two parts: a novel, Bodies of Water, and a critical reflection on the practice of narrating grief in fiction.

Bodies of Water is a portrait of grief told from the first-person perspective of Klara Marek, who works in the death industry as a freelance eulogy writer. Set in contemporary London, with flashbacks detailing key anterior events of the preceding ten years, Klara’s crisis is brought on when she loses a loved one and becomes a bereaved person herself.

The novel aims to explore different manifestations of grief through the narrator’s personal and professional meetings with the bereaved, as well as through her first-person narration of the experience of her own grief. By exploring the task of summating a life story, the novel asks questions about how we narrativise and construct what we remember of the dead in place of their absence.

Bodies of Water required research in the fields of thanatology, historical contexts of grief and the psychological traits of a person who grieves. The process of how I incorporated this research into a work of fiction forms the basis for my critical commentary. In the first three chapters I explain how my research informed the narrative of the novel, defend the existence of a eulogist, explore the parameters of “normalised” grief, and scrutinise the way different aspects of privilege and value intersect with the recording of life stories.

Reflecting on my creative process, the concluding chapter argues that, while research has been important, creative work is ultimately a nuanced balance of what has been learned, what is already known and what is imagined.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


grief, eulogies, storytelling

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


30 September 2022

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 Oct 2022 11:39

Last Modified:

18 Oct 2022 12:33


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