Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor

Julia Christine Kuehn (University of Hong Kong); Paul Smethurst (University of Hong Kong)
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Peter Ackroyd has said that when he writes a novel he is primarily interested “in the formal shape of it, [and] the way things are balanced against each other” (McGrath, 46), and that writing Hawksmoor, his third novel, was “a sort of linguistic exercise” (Ibid., 45), with the principal task to construct a complex web that connects the past and the present.

The organisation of Hawksmoor suggests not so much a complex web as a switchback ride between the 18th century (1712 -1715) and the 20th century (1970s); chapters alternate between these times. The temporal disjunctions are bridged through a number of linguistic and historical devices or “tricks”. One such device is the misplaced reference to the historical character Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661-1736), a pupil of Christopher

3353 words

Citation: Kuehn, Julia Christine, Paul Smethurst. "Hawksmoor". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 April 2005 [, accessed 08 December 2023.]

4868 Hawksmoor 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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