Kendrew Lascelles : selected works : a biographical, thematic and stylistic introduction.
Van der Heijden, Gillian.
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This dissertation–half of the MA in English Studies by coursework and dissertation–examines selected works of the playwright, poet and novelist, Kendrew Lascelles, who spent his youth and young adulthood in South Africa, and who since the mid-1960s has resided in the United States. The study – the first extended evaluation of Lascelles's work – focuses on those of his plays that feature an African dimension and on his 'post apocalyptic' novel, Tamara Hunney. The argument is that Africa, as a real and symbolic location, persists alongside the US influence in Lascelles's work, whether explicitly, as in his play about living in apartheid South Africa, or by suggestive parallel in his recognition of intercultural potential: for example, his contrast in Tamara Hunney of Los Angeles urban realism and native American ('Red Indian') spiritual redemption; that masculinist worlds (e.g. colonial or apartheid Africa; the US 'wild west', whether past or present) are tempered (educated) through gender sensitivity, or a feminine principle; and that an apparent paradox might but be a paradox in a writer who subscribes to foundational (romantic-conservative) values rather than to the trendy-liberal expositions of a media-saturated American society. The moral vision is captured not only thematically, but is embodied in 'form' as meaning: in surprising shifts of generic convention and style. The study suggests that Kendrew Lascelles's literary work is deserving of serious consideration.