Creative Writing and the New Humanities by Paul Dawson

By Paul Dawson

This publication examines the institutional heritage and disciplinary way forward for artistic writing within the modern academy, having a look well past the perennial questions 'can writing be taught?' and 'should writing be taught?'.Paul Dawson strains the emergence of inventive writing along the hot feedback in American universities; examines the writing workshop relating to theories of creativity and literary feedback; and analyzes the evolution of inventive writing pedagogy along and in keeping with the increase of 'theory' in the US, England and Australia.Dawson argues that the self-discipline of artistic writing constructed as a sequence of pedagogic responses to the long-standing 'crisis' in literary experiences. His polemical account presents a clean point of view at the significance of inventive writing to the emergence of the 'new humanities' and makes an immense contribution to present debates in regards to the position of the author as public highbrow.

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It is notable that Sidney does not employ the word ‘create’, and this is because of the aforementioned potential for blasphemy. For instance, in a poem of 1592, entitled ‘Of the Soul of Man and the 26 From imagination to creativity Immortalitie Thereof’, John Davies writes that ‘to create, to God alone pertaines’ (Chadwyck-Healey English Poetry Full-Text Database). Instead Sidney talks of the vigour of the poet’s invention. As Logan Pearsall Smith explains, the ‘term invention, which criticism had inherited from classical rhetoric, served for a long time as a name for that finding in Nature of something new to copy which was called originality’ (1925: 89).

So even though poetry is to be defined as imitation rather than verse, he acknowledges its general usage. In this case poetry has generally been understood to fall within the genres of dramatic, epic or lyric. Widdowson quotes Sidney’s Apologie for Poetry to demonstrate the generic quality of the word poetry, but Sidney’s point, that many excellent poets have never versified and many versifiers ought not to be called poets, demonstrates that he is attempting to address the persistent association of poetry with verse.

The fact that the word ‘poetry’ or ‘poesy’ is superseded by ‘literature’ as a general category for creative works can be attributed partly to the fact that a new word was required to accommodate the novel as it gradually came to be recognised as an art form. Because poetry was generally defined as the imitation of nature, fictional prose romances did not come under the title of poetry, despite their use of the imagination. Henry Fielding, in Tom Jones, writes that ‘truth distinguishes our writings from those idle romances which are filled with monsters, the productions, not of nature, but of distempered brains’ ([1749] 1992: 93).

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