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Pursuit and Nihility

Author: HuPeng
Tutor: YaoZuo
School: Nanchang University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: pursuit faith nihility structure "Small World" Holy Grail legend
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Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 13
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Abstract


Davi Lodge (1935-) is one of the preeminent British novel-critics. His academic novels are based on the daily college life of the intellectuals. The subtitle of Small World is "scholars’ Romance" which suggested the prototype use of the Legend of the Holy Grail. The knights went through hell to find the Holy Grail with their religious motives. Lodge found some similarities between the legend and the contemporary literary scholars at the seminar and dramatic demonstration in the ambition of cultural life and the tension of passion. Small World takes the legend of Holy Grail as a metaphor to express the lack of academic spirit of the western scholars. The diversity of the scholars’ pursuit was expressed by the different kinds of the pursuit at home and abroad. They rushed to adventures and hunted for beauties in different countries which shattered the myth of sacred academic community which established the thought that the spirit of contemporary western world is a wasteland.This dissertation explores the topic of pursuit from four aspects within six chapters. Chapter one provides a critical survey of David Lodge’s scholarship both at home and abroad, on the basis of which the subject is put forward, the scope of the subject is clarified, the approaches to the study are explicated and the main contents of the research are established. The middle three parts are the main contents of the thesis, which are analyzed respectively from the aspects of the motif of pursuit; the variant construction of pursuit; the nihility in the conflict of pursuit and the unbearable lightness of being.Chapter two is to explore the theme of pursuit in Small World. Through the respective exploration of the main characters and the analysis of their pursuits and desires, the thesis reveals the life condition of the modern scholars. Based on the main construction of pursuit, Chapter three unveils the structure of ’pursue—find—lose’ and compares this structure with the traditional structure of pursuit in Grail quest. The new model of pursuit structure is the fresh portrayal of the modern society. Chapter four mainly discusses the relationship among pursuit, faith and nihility which deeply exposes the reality of life. Pursuit is forced by faith, but the fruitless pursuit will lead to the collapse of faith, which means the faith is nihility in the end. And it puts forwards the belief of fighting against nihility and challenging despair. Chapter five is the expanding of the thesis. In the windy realistic society, regardless of the series of coincidences which are arranged by the author or predetermined by god. people should go on pursuing despite of the unbearable lightness or weightiness of being. Pursuit itself is meaningful.Chapter six concludes the main standpoints of this thesis. As the theme in Small World, pursuit is an ancient topic, but it appears fresh in the modern nihilistic society. Although the author closes the novel with an open ending, every coincidence is predetermined. God is not the bailment of the people in vain; people cannot do anything but go on and on.

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