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Title: The mindsweeper tales : a creative and critical approach to reinventing the medieval framed story-collection as a modern novel
Author: Cawthorne, Natalie I.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 3980
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
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A widely used narrative form in medieval literature is the framed story-collection, where an external narrative frames a collection of interpolated tales. This practice-based PhD in Creative Writing addresses the absence of the medieval framed story-collection structure in modern literature through creative practice and critical enquiry. The project is comprised of two parts: the creative artefact, for which I have written a novel of roughly 100,000 words, and the accompanying critical exegesis of 30,000 words. By considering Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales as a stylistic and structural model, I argue for the medieval framed story-collection structure's continued relevance in contemporary fiction by demonstrating its potential for reinvention in the form of a modern novel. This thesis presents a methodological framework that can be practically applied to creative writing, consisting of six essential components to consider when modernising the medieval form: the frame, the tellers, the tales, dramatic interplay, stylistic variety, and themes. In my creative component, The Mindsweeper Tales, I demonstrate the application of these components by reinventing Chaucer's pilgrimage in the form of a murder trial at the Old Bailey during the year 2030, in which the jurors become the narrators of the interpolated story collection. Further to this, I modernise Chaucer's stylistic variety by engaging alternative narrative forms beyond traditional prose, such as Surrealist text collage and poetic interludes. Finally, I address the importance of socio-political themes in both Chaucer's work and my own, demonstrating how the stylistic variety can be manipulated to represent the concerns of modern culture. This critical exegesis examines these Chaucerian elements alongside my creative piece to demonstrate how they have been reconceptualised in the form of a modern novel.
Supervisor: Mooney, Stephen ; Wynne-Davies, Marion Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral