Saturday 13 February 2010


I have a question as I think I am confused. I was re-reading an article by Nigel Krauth in the TEXT journal which was talking about your supervisor being editor, which raises a question in itself as it is not a role I had considered my supervisor to have, I saw them more as advisors - arguably the same thing I suppose. What it did seem to imply to me though was that whilst doing a creative writing PhD the ultimate, possibly only, aim was to be published with several already being published prior to completion. (LC's wonderful book being a prime and exemplary example)
Now this is where my question comes to mind - if the aim is to be published does this mean you are meant to write something that is 'commercially' acceptable and not necessarily 'original'? Before you start shouting at me I know every novel written is 'original' (apart from the obvious textual intervention, intertextuality etc etc). My concern is that it removes any thoughts of trying to write something that maybe challenges or pushes the boundaries and that is unlikely to be conceived as 'commercial' by any publisher but is just as valid because of the research undertaken whilst exploring the creative process.
I suppose what also worries me is what makes something of 'publishable' quality? We can all name books that should never have been published - but have. Whether you like a piece is subjective so who defines this indefinable word? Admittedly an issue for any creative writing course and not just PhDs, but I do think that the fact that the point of a PhD dissertation is to consist of original research that advances the knowledge in the chosen area is challenged by having to ensure your work is of 'publishable' quality. As a caveat I am not suggesting that poor writing is acceptable, if anything, it will need to be of a much higher quality if you are trying to break the rules and push the boundaries to the extreme - I am just aware that sometimes the best writing in the world is not acceptable by a publisher because it is not 'commercial'.
I am sure I will be shouted down and put in my place in no uncertain terms(she slips into a cliched ridden defence) but as I said when I explained what I am doing with this blog I am writing about things/issues that come into my head whilst working on my PhD - my musings.
I heard this today and it reminded me of how lucky I am

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