Creative Writing and the New Humanities

By Paul Dawson | Go to book overview

Conclusion

Towards a sociological poetics

I have argued in this book that the discipline of Creative Writing is more than a formal system of literary patronage and apprenticeship which has arisen as the result of an academic absorption of literary culture. It is an element of Literary Studies that developed as a series of pedagogical responses to the perennial crisis in English, and it provides an institutional space for writers to assert their literary authority as writers. I have concluded that in order for Creative Writing to negotiate a space for this authority within the university it is necessary to reassert the academic importance of literature not only as an influential agent in the cultural life of a society which demands critical attention, but as an intellectual practice which makes an active contribution to English Studies (envisaged as a form of knowledge constituted at the dialogic junction of literature and criticism).

Since intellectuals within the post-Theory academy are concerned not only with the refinement of disciplinary knowledge, but with the deployment of this knowledge within public debate, students and teachers of Creative Writing who perform intellectual work as writers are positioned to contribute to the New Humanities by virtue of the fact that their work is geared towards an audience in the public sphere. The reconceptualisation of Creative Writing as an institutional site for literary intellectuals, however (by which I mean writers who are critically aware of how literature circulates in social power relations, and who accept responsibility for their own work), requires a pedagogical reformation. If we accept that the best way to learn how to write is to read, and that this is the focus of the workshop, any reformation must be centred on a practice of critical reading of exemplary texts and student manuscripts. The question is, how do we introduce the current theoretical and political concerns of the New Humanities into this reading?

-205-

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Creative Writing and the New Humanities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - From Imagination to Creativity 21
  • 2 - Disciplinary Origins 48
  • 3 - Workshop Poetics 87
  • 4 - Creative Writing in Australia 121
  • 5 - Negotiating Theory 158
  • 6 - What is a Literary Intellectual? 180
  • Conclusion 205
  • Notes 215
  • Bibliography 218
  • Index 245
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