What a thirst it was: longing, excess and the genre-bending essay

Reeder, E. (2017) What a thirst it was: longing, excess and the genre-bending essay. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 10(1), pp. 27-47. (doi: 10.1386/jwcp.10.1.27_1)

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Rachel Blau DuPlessis writes that the essay is restless, always a little too hungry, a little too thirsty (2006). Implicit in this statement is the fact that a good essay is full of desire and creates this response in readers too – building a thirst for more knowledge, for more emotion, for stimuli, satisfaction. Here the essay is unquenchable, undefinable and unsummarizable. This experimental essay talks about the practice and application of writing experimental essays and their capacity to be genre-bending, form-curious texts. Considering specific texts that explore artistic practice and/or, in their hybridity, bring image and text together in essential ways, the hybrid essay will emerge as a way of making, seeing, reading, interpreting and acquiring knowledge. By discussing intentional ambiguity, the unfamiliar familiar, knowledge in context, and the role of language and structure in the creation of presence, silence and absence in texts, this essay draws attention to the complications (and possibilities) of essays and their forms. The best essays create subtle, lively interactions between and within subjects, forms and languages that can howl and shape-shift in the final essay itself. These genre-bending essays can deepen and complicate the knowledge we make for ourselves – as we experience reverberations of meaning in the multiple readings each specific open text encourages. Included here is the writing and thinking of Anne Carson, Gertrude Stein, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Lyn Hejinian and others.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Reeder, Dr Elizabeth
Authors: Reeder, E.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Journal of Writing in Creative Practice
First Published:First published in Journal of Writing in Creative Practice 10(1):27-47
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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