"Never to be yourself and yet always": taking the feminist personal essay from clickbait to craft

Harding, K (2019) "Never to be yourself and yet always": taking the feminist personal essay from clickbait to craft. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

Abstract

Through practice-based research, I sought to determine what for me has become an urgent question about the craft of a personal essay. What, I ask, distinguishes the tradition of Montaigne from essays that, as Bennett (2015) puts it, “make a show of maximal divulgence, but are too half-baked and dashed-off to do the work of real introspection”? In ten personal essays, I explore themes of personhood and dehumanization through the lens of living in a particular body (fat, female, infertile, over-forty) in a particular time and place (Trump’s America). In the contextualizing exegesis that accompanies my essay collection, I ask where the crucial distinctions between “clickbait” and craft lie, frequently examining my own practice and development in ways that I hope will be useful to other writers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Note:

This thesis was supervised by Professor Tracy Brain and Professor Gerard Woodward.

Reference included in abstract: Bennett, L. (2015) ‘The first-person industrial complex’. Slate, 14 September.

Divisions: School of Creative Industries
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2020 13:54
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2020 13:54
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