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Title: How might a ‘poetics of rescue’ inform contemporary biographical practice?
Author: Ducker, Christy Lynne
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 3749
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis examines, in theory and practice, how a 'poetics of rescue' might inform a contemporary biography of Grace Darling. The guiding philosophical principle is Hans-Georg Gadamer's humanist 'fusion of horizons'. This principle informs the research methodology, which tacks between the 'shores' of past and present, subject and object, foreign and familiar. Correspondingly, this hermeneutic 'play' suggests a poetics of retrieval. Key to that poetics is metaphor, and the creative possibilities afforded by an exchange between 'homeland' and 'Other'. The guiding image throughout is that of sea rescue, an image key to the life of Darling herself. The thesis blends critical commentary and poems into one text. This is intellectually consistent with the research methodology, and the creative element: the aim throughout is to close distances, 'fuse horizons' and engage in dialogue rather than definition. The blended style invites readers to 'play' between conventional academic discourse and creative writing. Chapter 1 shows how hermeneutics might inform the methodology of humanist biography. The discussion centres on prejudice and tradition, and how these factors influence biographical research and writing. This chapter also engages with the comparative biography of Darling, challenging past biographers' claims to have written 'definitive' versions. Chapter 2 focuses on museum and archive materials, and how these began to generate the abecedary sequence, 'Grace Darling's ABC'. This chapter considers the role of the curator, and how this parallels the role of the biographer. Theories of museology and display culture give rise to the beginnings of a poetics of biography. Chapter 3 illustrates this poetics more fully, with metaphor and metonymy being key to the discussion. This chapter makes a case for poetry-biography as a 'U.L.O.', an Unidentified Literary Object whose form acknowledges multiple realities. In conclusion, this thesis suggests that genre and biography, and perhaps even academic discourse, need to shape-shift if they are to remain effective.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available