Theses Doctoral

If Time Permits: The Politics and Aesthetics of the Creative Writing Manual

O'Neill, Therese

If Time Permits: The Politics and Aesthetics of the Popular Creative Writing Manual
Therese O’Neill
Creative writing manuals, often called craft books within the literary establishment, represent a genre with a significant place in print culture. These books not only offer advice on how to construct interesting, emotional, and experience-mimicking narrative prose but also suggest that creative writing is a practice available broadly to those who give themselves the permission to write. However, despite early creative writing manuals’ democratic promise to level the playing fields of the intellectual and artistic economy by facilitating individuality in the writerly voice, popular creative writing manuals have failed to substantively engage the politics implicit in craft and have discouraged individuality in the case of writers of progressive political orientation. This dissertation looks at the ideological underpinnings of these guidebooks and the development of the genre in the United States, which is situated in an extended tradition that has wed iconoclasm and a sometimes exacting paradigm of self-making.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Tucher, Andrea J.
Gitlin, Todd
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 24, 2020