The Creative Writing Doctoral Thesis: Insights from Genetic Criticism

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    Creative writing doctoral students and the faculty members responsible for thesis supervision (whether we call them supervisors, mentors or supervisory panels) develop a complex relationship over the course of candidature that revolves around multiple types of text. The form that these texts take and the stage at which they are produced determine the nature of supervisory feedback, illuminating the intertwined processes leading to a finished product—the creative thesis. Some critics have postulated that creative writing postgraduate courses have taken over much of the manuscript editing that used to be done by publishing houses. Useful parallels can be drawn between the materials presented by candidates and the plethora of texts that form the basis of genetic criticism, which focuses on the stages of a manuscript’s life. Genetic criticism also engages with the principles of program and process writing as they pertain to the way in which manuscripts are constructed; they shed light on creative thesis production. Demarcating the postgraduate journey by identifying textual stages will assist supervisors and candidates in conceptualising their long-term projects as academic and artistic work, both of which can be generated through a range of processes. The ultimate goals are graduation and publication or performance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)148-169
    Number of pages22
    JournalNew Writing: The International Journal For The Practice and Theory of Creative Writing
    Issue number2
    Early online date2017
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018


    • creative writing doctorates
    • Genetic criticism
    • process writing
    • program writing
    • supervision


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