Form and Function in Muriel Rukeyser's Savage Coast
Edwards, Madeleine Cameron
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This thesis analyzes the relationship between various literary modes and narrative functions in Muriel Rukeyser’s posthumously published novel Savage Coast (written 1937, published 2013). This thesis critically positions Rukeyser’s novel within the development of women’s autobiographical fiction from the Modernist period to contemporary practices. I use both historical and contemporary frameworks to examine the contexts within which the novel was written in (the 1930s) and how Rukeyser’s literary experiments are still impressive and relevant today. I argue Savage Coast is a testament to Rukeyser’s various interests in multiple modes – documentary, fiction, and poetry (among others). The different forms of the novel directly correlate to narrative function: each different mode of writing adds a new dimension to the protagonist’s experience of the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.