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Wyrd Magic: an exploration of personal grief through narrative

Cargill, Alison


Alison Cargill


Martin Goodman

Sarah-Jane Dickenson


The thesis consists of the novel Wyrd Magic and an exegesis. Together, they chart my creative and critical PhD journey where I explore the form of the novel as a mode through which to articulate my understanding of grief. My intent was to develop a narrative voice sufficiently extraordinary to articulate my complex model for grief. To do so, I engaged with three areas of critical theory as platforms of analysis: postmodernism, feminist theory and the Gothic. Postmodernism and feminist theory were platforms of analysis I re-engaged with after a gap of many years; they were stepping stones which gave impetus to my writing in terms of freedom and empowerment. The Gothic was a more significant influence which gave me the freedom to break out and find the strident, extraordinary voice I was searching for. Further, the Gothic became the vehicle through which I could take emotional risks, exposing my vulnerability within the narrative, and so reach some understanding of my own grief. The thesis explores the way my exploration of the Gothic resulted in a reconnection with the past, a re-negotiation of relationships. Part I of the thesis is the novel, Wyrd Magic. In Part II, I focus on the development of the narrative voice. In Chapter One I re-engage with postmodernism in pursuit of creative freedom. In Chapter Two I draw on feminist theory to support empowerment in the voice. The remaining chapters chart my deeper engagement with the Gothic as a new field of research: in Chapter Three I establish a Gothic sensibility. Chapter Four charts the development of the witch-figure into a complex character. In Chapter Five I turn the focus to Wyrd Magic as a novel of self-haunting. Part III is a discussion about the writing process. To close, in the Epilogue I reflect upon the impact of the personal journey of the PhD and the potential, going forward, for further exploration of form.


Cargill, A. (2022). Wyrd Magic: an exploration of personal grief through narrative. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 15, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 15, 2023
Keywords Creative writing
Public URL
Additional Information Creative Writing, The University of Hull
Award Date 2022-09


Thesis (1.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2022 Alison Cargill. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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