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Virgin and Child : a novel : how the literary thriller can be used to explore morality and the nature of the divine

Hamand, Margaret Eleanor


Margaret Eleanor Hamand


Martin Goodman


The thesis includes a novel, Virgin and Child, and an exegesis, which explores how novelists creatively engage with issues of religion and morality within the genre of the literary thriller. The novel interweaves the Catholic position on issues of gender and sexuality within a thriller in which cardinals within the Vatican try to remove their current Pope, after a series of shocking revelations threaten his traditional status. Told in third person focused narration, the novel explores and engages with contemporary Catholic theology and raises fundamental questions about the nature of our gender identity.
The exegesis considers how the thriller can be used to explore issues of religion and faith in the contemporary world, and in particular the sexual ethics of the Roman Catholic Church. It considers the intrusion of the miraculous into certain works of fiction by Catholic literary thriller writers and the ways in which this may betray the conventions of the thriller and the workings of literature and narrative form itself. The novel explores the tension between the miraculous and the scientific, and the conflict in modern religious thought between fidelity to the tradition and the necessity of change. It explores the narrative choices made during the novel’s development and the techniques used to overcome the improbability of events and so make the story convincing, create a gripping and suspenseful narrative, and bring the work to a satisfactory, if ambiguous, conclusion.


Hamand, M. E. (2018). Virgin and Child : a novel : how the literary thriller can be used to explore morality and the nature of the divine. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Apr 18, 2023
Publicly Available Date Apr 18, 2023
Keywords Creative writing ; English
Public URL
Additional Information Department of English, The University of Hull
Award Date 2018-04


Thesis (1.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2018 Margaret Eleanor Hamand. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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