Doctor of Philosophy
School of the Arts, English and Media
This thesis of creative practice research presents a collection of texts arising from two intersecting themes of enquiry in the field of creative writing. It investigates experimental modes of creative nonfiction that break with the convention of longform narrative, and asks how these experimental affordances might be used to write an anxious self, fragmented by various illness states. Emboldened by a movement of experimental nonfiction declared by Shields’ (2010) Reality Hunger: a manifesto, poetic fragmentation, lyric association, photomontage, erasure, and portraiture are used to write this ill self and its accompanying provocations to reality, identity, and selfhood. An autobiographical subject is encountered that is “fragmented, provisional, multiple, in process” (Smith & Watson 2002, p. 9) with a particular interest paid to the tension between spatial and temporal modes of self-representation at the autobiographical interface of text and image. These questions form the reflexive ground for a critical enquiry into the categorical slipperiness of nonfiction in theory and practice, addressed in the project’s research methodology. This methodology brings together all texts in an “expanded field” of nonfiction adapting Krauss’s (1979) critical framework first developed to account for changes in the logic of practice in postmodern sculpture. In the expanded field of nonfiction, it is the position taken in relation to the field’s structuring opposition fiction/fact that is the new logic of practice. A diversity of forms and writing approaches can be mapped in this field without collapsing its essential foundational oppositions. Foregrounding the imbrication of the essay in the French tradition of “a thinking” that occurs “through the material fabrication of language” (Duplessis 1996, p. 19) and qualitative research methods of writing as “a mode of enquiry in its own right” (Gibbs 2007 p. 222), the divide between ‘creative’ and ‘critical’ modes of writing in academic research is surmounted, opening the way for a playful exploration of flexible knowledge forms through expanded writing practice.
Strahan, Lucinda, High Anxiety: Writing the Ill Self in the Expanded Field of Nonfiction, Doctor of Philosophy thesis, School of the Arts, English and Media, University of Wollongong, 2022. https://ro.uow.edu.au/theses1/1372
FoR codes (2008)
1904 PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.