Mature Poets Steal: a novel, Notes to Self, and an extended essay on that work

Horrocks, James (2017) Mature Poets Steal: a novel, Notes to Self, and an extended essay on that work. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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This thesis consists of a novel, Notes to Self, and an extended essay examining the composition of that work, its processes and contexts. Notes to Self is the fictional autobiography of my pseudonym, Ted Bonham. It has been assembled from textual fragments of differing lengths, including many that derive from found texts from both literary and non-literary sources. These fragments are written in a diverse range of styles and set in a variety of geographical locations and historical periods, from Neanderthal tribe story to contemporary lab report and from nineteenth century novel to amateur internet polemic. Taken together, these disparate textual fragments reveal Ted's life story. The narrative tells this story approximately chronologically, but within this broad structure fragments are also organised by associative and thematic principles more often discussed in relation to poetry or visual collage.

The essay examines the assemblage composition of Notes to Self and its use of the fragment as a unit of composition. It uses analogies to collage and montage to extend critical discourse around the assemblage-text, helping to provide both a vocabulary for practitioners to discuss their work and the theoretical basis to defend it. It also examines how Notes to Self, as the notional autobiography of my pseudonym Ted Bonham, addresses themes of identity and self-narrative and how its fragmentary structure creatively explores and represents our experiences of consciousness and how we construct our narratives of selfhood. In doing so, it seeks to examine how we can make use of assemblage compositions to create new prose work, what these prose works might look like and how these methods can be contextualised and articulated.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Foremost, I would like to thank my Director of Studies, Gregory Leadbetter, without whose advice, support and inexhaustible Coleridge references this thesis would not have been possible. I would also like to thank Birmingham City University and the many members of the School of English who have supported me in completing this thesis, especially Derek Littlewood, Tony Howe, Anthony Mellors and Islam Issa. My thanks too to fellow doctoral candidate Rhoda Greaves for being my pathfinder and for our varied and meandering conversations in the car home. Thank you to all those who have supported me in my creative endeavours to date, especially all those involved in the New Student Writing Society at Manchester University and to Birmingham City University and the National Academy of Writing with whom I studied for my MA. Special thanks to Stephen Nashef and Joey Connolly for being early readers of my novel and for offering invaluable advice on revising a bloated first draft, and to all my friends and family especially my mother, Helen Bonham, and my partner, Charlotte Colwill, for putting up with me and my foibles. Finally, my thanks to all those whose words I have appropriated. No one ever said it better.
10 November 2017Completed
Uncontrolled Keywords: assemblage, collage, montage, fragment, literary fragment, plagiarism, creative plagiarism, appropriation, fiction, creative practice, writing
Subjects: CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-01 - English studies (non-specific)
CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-05 - creative writing
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2019 10:37
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 17:19

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