Divine Madness: Identifying, Analysing and Developing the Campus Clique Crime Novel

Author: Margot Elsie McGovern

McGovern, Margot Elsie, 2014 Divine Madness: Identifying, Analysing and Developing the Campus Clique Crime Novel, Flinders University, School of Humanities and Creative Arts

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Donna Tartt's novel The Secret History (1992) recounts the crimes of an elitist clique at an exclusive liberal arts college in rural Vermont, USA. Since 2005 there have been a number of predominantly American novels, including John Green's Looking for Alaska (2005), Martha O'Connor's The Bitch Goddess Notebook (2005), Lev Grossman's The Magicians (2009), Jennifer McMahon's Dismantled (2009) and Amber Dermont's The Starboard Sea (2013), that feature a campus, a clique and a crime. Their plots contain cycles of repression and return, and characters who falsely believe that their superior intelligence places them outside the moral codes of society. These novels, which I have termed campus clique crime novels, have not previously been defined as a distinct sub-genre. The purpose of this thesis is to identify, analyse and develop the campus clique crime novel. The exegesis locates the campus clique crime novel within the wider body of campus fiction and conducts a comparative analysis of three primary texts, Tartt's The Secret History, Green's Looking for Alaska and Grossman's The Magicians, to determine the key narrative devices and themes of the sub-genre and to identify ways in which the campus clique crime novel may be further developed. The creative project, a novel titled In the Company of Saints, incorporates all the key narrative devices identified and analysed in the exegesis; however, I used the drafting process to play with these devices and determine how they might be developed.

Keywords: creative writing,campus fiction,campus clique crime novel,American fiction,Young Adult fiction,campus crime fiction

Subject: Creative Arts thesis, English thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2014
School: School of Humanities and Creative Arts
Supervisor: Dr Ruth Starke