Singing the Void

Alexander, Dorothy (2006) Singing the Void. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Prose fiction and original poetry are contained in a single work of creative writing titled 'Cage', and an associated commentative journal, 'Out of the Cage', 'Cage' is centred on the lives and welfare of a community of demented elderly patients who inhabit a ward in an outdated Victorian asylum. A student nurse arrives to start her psychiatric placement there, and, over the next eight weeks, she, the patients and those who care for them are portrayed in various situations from the banal to the abusive. In an environment where standards of care fall below the ideal, she acts as witness and potential agent of change. The work is arranged as an integrated rhythmic sequence, a prosimetrum, in which language events and prosodic practice correlative to the liminal and broken discourse of the patients taper into silence and dislocated meaning. The narrative modulates from conventional prose through disrupted and violated texts (including poems which are processually derived using the prose sections as palimtext) to conversational monologues in which the patients speak as themselves before they became ill. The majority of these monologues are in Borders Scots dialect. 'Out of the Cage' reflects on the author's desire to intuit and reveal the disease processes and states of being of those afflicted by dementia, and how this, coupled with intense questioning about the determination of the line ending within the tradition of free verse, led to the devising of original techniques for constructing poems based on those normally associated with avant-garde and experimental poetics, and which increasingly emphasised a non-linear kinetic. Notational and descriptive, it provides a complementary commentary on the process by which the disrupted texts and poems were obtained from the prose narrative and associated material with reference to relevant critical and literary texts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Advisers: Tom Leonard; Adam Piette
Keywords: Creative writing
Date of Award: 2006
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2006-71039
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 May 2019 14:28
Last Modified: 09 May 2019 14:28
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71039

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