A Thing Made of Words: The Reflexive Realism of Richard Yates

Bull, Leif. 2010. A Thing Made of Words: The Reflexive Realism of Richard Yates. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis is a study of the work of American novelist and short story writer Richard Yates. Taking as its starting point the consensus view of Richard Yates as a realist operating during a period of strong anti-realist currents in American literature, the thesis seeks to complicate this notion, arguing instead for a reading of Richard Yates' work as a mode of realism that could only have emerged after modernism, a realism that focussed on a number of concerns and problems regarding representation and interpretation shared with literary postmodernism, and which anticipates recent and current trends within American literary fiction. Its main areas of investigation are Yates' take on everyday language as a site of entropy; his use of intertextuality, in particular in relation to the short story; tensions between realism's claim to cognitive/visual authority and epistemological uncertainty; concerns and anxieties around masculinity within American realism; his use of autobiographical material in relation to the psychoanalytic theories of Melanie Klein and D. W. Winnicott; the impact of media saturation on subjectivity, with particular focus on cliché.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


richard yates, realism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


30 July 2010

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

09 Jan 2012 14:27

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 08:23



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