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How Does the Space Create the Text? An Exploration of the Impact of Physical and Geographical Space on Each Stage of the Writing Process.

Cavanagh, J (2023) How Does the Space Create the Text? An Exploration of the Impact of Physical and Geographical Space on Each Stage of the Writing Process. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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This thesis examines the effect of the writing environment on the writer, the subsequent impact on what is written and the reasons for this. It is formed of a collection of short stories, different stages of which were written in different spaces, and a reflective analysis exploring the ways in which the writer’s fluctuating relationship with these various spaces has informed those stories.

Following the introduction, an initial chapter surveys the key characteristics of the short story form and sequence, and positions the present writer’s collection in relation to the work of other contemporary short story writers. It examines different critical models of story collections, arguing that the present collection is best understood as a sequence. The next chapter, on methodology, outlines the key terms and approaches used in the thesis. Subsequent chapters analyse both the stories and the process of their creation, through a focus on the tropes of belonging and not belonging, familiarity and unfamiliarity, the uncanny, isolation, routine and memory.

In its exploration of the effects of writing spaces on the writer and what is written, the thesis draws on affect theory as a framework. Drawing also on work in humanistic geography, alongside the writing of Georges Perec and Gaston Bachelard, it explores the concept of space and the ways in which the writer attempts to build a relationship with a space (which is also the process through which a ‘space’ may become a ‘place’). The thesis demonstrates that, rather than being static, such a relationship is subject to continued (and sometimes unexpected) change, and reflects analytically on how the present writer’s changing relationships with a variety of spaces are reflected in the short stories in the present collection. Drawing again on Bachelard, the thesis argues that the writer’s ultimate aim is always to make the space a ‘home’ (however temporary) for her writing.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: creative writing; short story; space; place; uncanny; affect theory; belonging; familiarity; memory; isolation; home; in-between; stream of consciousness; interior monologue; short story theory
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Screen School
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2023 09:50
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2023 09:51
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00019250
Supervisors: Tookey, H, Walchester, K and Graham, R
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19250
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