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Bryan Wysopal, Master of Arts in English, earned EIU's top research honor for his master's thesis titled, David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus: An Anti-Fantasy.
Jad Smith, Ph.D., Professor of English, served as Bryan's faculty mentor.
The award is named for, and supported by, former dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Robert Augustine, and his wife, Kathy, an EIU alumna.
This is a study of David Lindsay’s A Voyage to Arcturus (1920) in which I argue that the novel is an anti-fantasy, that is, a fantasy that negates certain tropes common to the genre as part of the author’s wider intentions for writing. I contextualize Lindsay by comparing him to several authors of his time who also worked in the mode of fantasy, then explain how the generic traits of the novel are handled unconventionally to promote Lindsay’s personal philosophy. I explore Lindsay’s treatment of the basic generic traits of the hero and his quest, the imaginary world, and the novel’s themes regarding the nature of reality, the concept of identity, and the individual’s purpose or destiny. Lindsay’s intention was not to write an entertaining or imaginative story but to express his sincerest convictions about the nature of the Absolute. The result is a dense, idiosyncratic novel that is often overlooked for being challenging and defying generic expectations. My thesis offers a lens to readers designed to make Arcturus accessible and strives to do so in an equally accessible manner.
Full thesis may be accessed at Booth Library's The Keep