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Title: Personal fictions : the use of fictional autobiography in personal development.
Author: Hunt, Celia.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2420 7725
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis contains the results of my research between 1994 and 1998 into the uses of fictional autobiography in personal development. The topic arose out of my observation, both of my own experience and the experience of students attending my creative writing courses, that writing fictional autobiography as part of a writing apprenticeship not only enabled the development of writing skills and the finding of a writing 'voice', but often had a therapeutic effect on the writer's relationship with himor herself, and with his or her significant others. I set out to explore this observation through an examination of my creative writing course 'Autobiography and Fiction' (subsequently called 'Autobiography and the Imagination'), which I taught at the University of Sussex Centre for Continuing Education from 1991 to 1996. I issued questionnaires to all 78 students who had taken this course, to generate data on the benefits of engaging in the writing of fictional autobiography. I also conducted interviews on the same topic with 5 of these students. I analysed the resulting data using the theory of the Germani American psychoanalyst Karen Horney, and to a lesser extent that of object relations theorists D.W. Winnicott, Christopher Bollas and Marion Milner. Where appropriate, I also used theory of literary and social narrative. The thesis presents the three main findings of the research, namely, that the writing of fictional autobiography (1) can facilitate a closer contact with the inner life, resulting in a stronger sense of identity and the finding of a 'writing voice'; (2) can help to reveal and work through problems of identity which cause writer's block; and (3) can provide a means of're-writing' self-narratives which have been 'written' in the psyche by family and society. The thesis concludes with some suggestions as to how fictional autobiography might be used in a self-analytic or psychoanalytic context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Creative writing; Writing the self; Karen Horney Literature Mass media Performing arts Art