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Any Belgian! Reading the city: creating a narrative from urban experiences

Any Belgian! Reading the city: creating a narrative from urban experiences
Any Belgian! Reading the city: creating a narrative from urban experiences
The critical reflection at the start of this thesis outlines the ideas that have informed the production of my novel Any Belgian. The novel explores how cities offer creative possibilities for a writer, particularly in suggesting locations and for influencing the development of character and plot. The critical reflection also surveys the work of writers and critics who have commented on the nature of cities as palimpsests, and as places that serve as an emotional refuge. It also reflects on the creative processes involved in constructing my novel, detailing the decisions made about its form. The use of images in the novel is also discussed and a justification is made for their use as a device to deliberately involve the reader in the construction of meaning. References to cinema and other visual arts are prominent in the novel, and there is a reflection on how they are used as an effective way to express the thoughts of the narrator in his attempts to make sense of a set of multi-layered past experiences. It was also important to undertake fieldwork for research in the writing of the novel. This process is described and related to the writings of critics such as Walter Benjamin and other writers who have recorded their walks in urban locations. The narrative for Any Belgian works on several levels and the complexity of its layers are addressed in the conclusion to the thesis. What has been produced is a novel that attempts to raise questions about the possibility of accurately recording urban experiences, especially when a narrator is confronted with the challenge of describing the permanently shifting relationship between
recollections and the city locations which give rise to those recollections.
Hiscock, Donald
5932c985-61ae-43a9-bd7e-78407caa4967
Hiscock, Donald
5932c985-61ae-43a9-bd7e-78407caa4967
Smith, Rebecca
855a318f-1376-4e0d-b554-530ad45a4956

(2013) Any Belgian! Reading the city: creating a narrative from urban experiences. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 226pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The critical reflection at the start of this thesis outlines the ideas that have informed the production of my novel Any Belgian. The novel explores how cities offer creative possibilities for a writer, particularly in suggesting locations and for influencing the development of character and plot. The critical reflection also surveys the work of writers and critics who have commented on the nature of cities as palimpsests, and as places that serve as an emotional refuge. It also reflects on the creative processes involved in constructing my novel, detailing the decisions made about its form. The use of images in the novel is also discussed and a justification is made for their use as a device to deliberately involve the reader in the construction of meaning. References to cinema and other visual arts are prominent in the novel, and there is a reflection on how they are used as an effective way to express the thoughts of the narrator in his attempts to make sense of a set of multi-layered past experiences. It was also important to undertake fieldwork for research in the writing of the novel. This process is described and related to the writings of critics such as Walter Benjamin and other writers who have recorded their walks in urban locations. The narrative for Any Belgian works on several levels and the complexity of its layers are addressed in the conclusion to the thesis. What has been produced is a novel that attempts to raise questions about the possibility of accurately recording urban experiences, especially when a narrator is confronted with the challenge of describing the permanently shifting relationship between
recollections and the city locations which give rise to those recollections.

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More information

Published date: November 2013
Organisations: University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367343
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367343
PURE UUID: bf08757a-6044-4233-9394-208c63a7bb7e

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Date deposited: 23 Oct 2014 11:45
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 02:00

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Contributors

Author: Donald Hiscock
Thesis advisor: Rebecca Smith

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