Higgins, Peter (2017) The Wolfhound Century Trilogy: World Building through Genre and Allusion. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

A PhD In Creative Writing by Publication, comprising a trilogy of published novels –
Wolfhound Century (2013), Truth and Fear (2014) and Radiant State (2015),
described collectively as the Wolfhound Century trilogy – and an accompanying
The published novels are historical fantasy thrillers, engaging with Russian
(predominantly Soviet) history and culture of the period approximately 1900 to 1960.
The novels do not portray Russia directly, but create a refracted, re-imagined world of
Russian-ness, troped as 'the Vlast'.
The commentary discusses the writing of the novels as practice-based research. It
explores how the trilogy puts into practical fiction-writing use some concepts about
literary tradition, genre and intertextual allusions which I first developed as an
academic researcher in literary history. It describes the results of a writing process
based on the use of wide-ranging and deliberate allusiveness and multiple, shifting
genres and narrative voices, ranging from those of popular fiction to the highly
literary and poetic: a practice which grew out of my prior study of literary modernism
and classical and Renaissance epic. It explores how these formal strategies are used to
extend and complement the novels' thematic concerns with the interaction between
the totalizing, collectivizing state and the openness and plenitude of individual human
The commentary also discusses my novels as a contribution to knowledge,
specifically to certain genres of fantasy writing and to the interface between fiction
seen as popular or mass market and fiction seen as literary. It examines the
relationship of the Wolfhound Century trilogy to fantasy thriller, alternate history,
historical fantasy, steampunk, and cultural/historical mashup and pastiche. It
describes how my novels adopt aspects of those genres but also reshape and extend
them by integrating heightened and more 'literary' modes of writing and an extensive
and programmatic allusiveness to literary and cultural texts and ideas which lie
outside the conventional boundaries of current fantasy and science fiction writing. It
concludes that while the Wolfhound Century trilogy is related to and engages with a
number of different genres, its foundational and driving creative purpose is ultimately
that of high (or epic, or heroic) fantasy.

Final thesis - HIGGINS.pdf - Accepted Version
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