Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This study examines two Canadian novels, Robertson Davies' Fifth Business and Margaret Atwood's Surfacing, in order to show how each deals with an important theme in Canadian literature. This theme is the clash between two world-views, which I am calling the scientific world-view and the transcendent world-view. The treatment of this theme has been undertaken by both writers in the form of displaced romance, a fictional genre employing conventions of character, plot and theme in a manner less impeded than realism by the demands of ordinary experience.;Chapters One and Two analyse romance and define the two world-views. With the help of three critics (Theodore Roszak, Dennis Lee and Northrop Frye), the assumptions underlying the two world-views upon which the novels are based are examined. Each critic lays out the questions at issue in a different way, yet each agrees that one of the central social issues of the age is the clash between science and transcendence. Roszak and Lee offer a conflict model of the clash; Frye suggests a model which, though conflict-driven, is fundamentally based upon interpenetration rather than strife.;Chapters Three and Four analyse the two works themselves and demonstrate how each protagonist undertakes a journey of self-discovery charted by the conventions of romance. Ramsay and the narrator of Surfacing both discover that their quests move them towards a modus vivendi which accommodates the frames of reference of both world-views. Through the discovery of the archetypal patterns which resonate throughout their own experiences, they both discover that the "marvellous is indeed an aspect of the real."



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