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Inland by sea! The mystery of emotion and creative praxis

Reeve, VG ORCID: 0000-0001-8075-9700 2021 , 'Inland by sea! The mystery of emotion and creative praxis', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This creative writing thesis explores narrative emotion and reader engagement and comprises a novella, “Inland by Sea!”, and critical exegesis. The novella develops its creative praxis around the role of emotion in establishing reader engagement through perspective-taking. “Inland by Sea!” tells the story of a continent settled by pirates during the middle ages and, in so doing, offers an allegory for Australian settlement and colonialism more broadly. With its protagonist, Robbie, involved in a quest for a house hidden at the centre of the continent, supposed to contain untold riches, “Inland by Sea!” addresses the motivations behind colonial settlement and the effect of such endeavours upon local populations.
Narratives engage readers in the cooperative discourse of reading through the interplay of perspectives, which the reader must negotiate in order to understand the story. Every instance of perspective-taking will involve the reader in appraisals of feeling, suggesting that reading, and the social and cultural experiences that underpin it, is always a matter of feeling. Our social and cultural constructions form bases of knowledge about possible perspectives, enabling us to comprehend experiences that we are unlikely to encounter directly. Perspectivetaking is thus a cognitive process that has the capacity to affect us through invocations of remembered feeling (about things that happened or were merely imagined) resituated in respect to newly imagined positions, but also through the somatic effects of reading itself.
Drawing on critical work about emotion, cognition, and the role of perspective-taking, the exegesis speaks directly to the creative practice developed in “Inland by Sea!” Arguing that, the reader, through the recursive intimacies of multiple perspectives, rubbing up together, sometimes nested, one within the other (a character, for example, seeing herself through another’s eyes; the narrative voice seeing what she sees as well as seeing what the other actually sees, etc.), is called upon, in the marshalling of their recollections, to take up these diverse stances in respect to identified correspondences. Thus, through the process of recursive perspective-taking, the emotional meanings of the text come to further inform the emotional meanings of the reader’s personal experience. It is by this means that “Inland by Sea!”, through its allegorical relation to myths of Australian settlement, challenges readers to take on new perspectives of Australian history and culture.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Reeve, VG
Keywords: creative praxis, creative writing, cognitive literary studies, narrative emotion, perspective-taking
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Copyright 2021 the author

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