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Type: Thesis
Title: [EMBARGOED] Notes from Above Water: fictocriticism as queer creative research practice
Author: Coppe, Alison Jane
Issue Date: 2018
School/Discipline: School of Humanities : English and Creative Writing
Abstract: (Pleasure/Bliss: terminologically, there is always a vacillation- I stumble, I err. In any case, there will always be a margin of indecision; the distinction will not be the source of absolute classifications, the paradigm will falter, the meaning will be precarious, revocable, reversible: the discourse incomplete.) —Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text (4). Marion May Campbell proposes that fictocriticism depends upon a “…queering of borders” and an “… auto-fictional desire (that) pressures the critic” (Campbell “Waterspout” 282) to produce the hybrid text. This pressure, I contend, is the cumulative effect of text upon the body which, through reading and subsequent writing, is the basis of the fictocritical impulse. This thesis is an exploration of the affective and methodological limits of fictocriticism as a queer research practice. Engaging with contemporary theories of writing memory and the body, Notes from Above Water spirals in and out of narrative and re-iterates itself through the appropriation of the writing-flesh of others (Gibbs “Writing and the”). Utilising the ephemeral textual object of ‘the note’: love note, reminder note, suicide note, research/footnote, preface, epilogue, calendar note, fragment, this work resists traditional narrative and academic prose, un-settling the reader into a deeply fragmented flow of prose, poetry, and fictocritical bents. The text queers (queries) established narrative tropes around the experience of sexual trauma, traumatic grief, queer sexualities and identities. This thesis considers the liberatory prospects that fictocritical writing provides. Fictocriticism acts as a literary and critical alternative to traditional narrative structures of confession and disclosure, and a challenge to the ways in which memoir and autofiction function as rituals of healing. Each chapter of this body of work queerly returns to the, often disguised, site of trauma, desire, and meaning making. It does this through a series of plagiarist montage and subversive modes of quotation from texts which are canonical in their respective fields: Roland Barthes’ The Pleasure of the Text, Dorothy Allison’s Bastard out of Carolina, Sappho, Monique Wittig’s The Lesbian Body, Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School, Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, Kathleen Mary Fallon’s Working Hot, and a plethora of other academic, poetic, and narrative works. These texts are the poetic and critical scaffolding that moves this work, building the text’s relationship between grief and critical thinking, between language and pain, memory and minor culture, and contemporary theories of writing the body. The events of this piece unfold as repeated narrative instances: a slap across the face, a kiss in a pub toilet, traumatic birth, traumatic death, sex, picking up, learning to read and learning to write. It has multiple beginnings and conclusions. Through its labyrinth of quotation it reveals the architecture of its own creation. The page that was blank to begin with is now crossed from top to bottom with tiny black characters -letters, words, commas, exclamation marks - and it ́s because of them the page is said to be legible. But a kind of uneasiness, a feeling close to nausea, an irresolution that stays my hand - these make me wonder: do these black marks add up to reality? (Genet “Prisoner of”) Notes from Above Water utilises this same sense of nauseating irresolution. There is no resolution to the dilemma of the text. The writing acquiesces to its own failure: creating a textual body that bears all the signs and marks of the body that was lost, but cannot return the woman, the character, the artist, the queer, to the world outside of text. In its attempt to re-constitute the body of the lover in text, Notes from Above Water, like Monique Wittig’s The Lesbian Body makes “the page the scene of a radical un-writing and re-writing” (Campbell “Poetic Revolutionaries” 73). The text, like Wittig’s, engages in a “scenographic performance of the body” (Campbell “Poetic Revolutionaries”74) in this case both the body of the writer and the absent body of the deceased. This thesis takes Julia Kristeva’s theory of intertextuality to its logical extreme. Where appropriation, bricolage, quotation, montage, and new work infect and mutate each other through allusion and paratextual co-habitation. This work is influenced by, just as the work of earlier practitioners of Australian women’s experimental writing and fictocriticism was, the French traditions of formal experimentation in the novel which Marion May Campbell suggests can be thought of as “…a prolongation of the modernist avant-garde” (Campbell “Poetic Revolutionaries” 74). Anna Gibbs contends that writing “organises a chaotic world into familiar form” (Gibbs “Vivarium” 244); this thesis organises chaos as chaos, queerly, irreverently, passionately with the weight of words and text juxtaposed by unpoliced absurdity, abjection, and longing.
Advisor: Prosser, Rosslyn
Treagus, Mandy
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2018
Keywords: Fictocriticism
creative writing
creative research
Description: Major work and exegesis
Provenance: This thesis is currently under Embargo and not available.
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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