Scoundrel Days Writing Rebellion/Youthful Memoir
Embargoed until: 2018-12-18
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Scoundrel Days: a memoir reads as a first person bildungsroman adventure story set between the years 1972 and 1998. It narrates from the perspective of an Australian boy growing up in an obscure Christian cult in outback Queensland. To the casual reader the text presents as a novel which requires no special introduction, instruction or foreword. Written as creative nonfiction, Scoundrel Days has attained publication (UQP 2017) and is marketed in the genre of memoir. To the astute or critical reader Scoundrel Days presents a multi-linear challenge. Written in first person present perfect, in a conscious effort to step outside the genre definition while still retaining the central tenet of nonfiction, the text occupies several distinct modal perspectives on the liminal field. This effect is achieved via the employment of a juxtaposition of literary techniques, methodologies and constraints. Several of these, used by many writers, require little effort to adopt (minimalism, dramatica theory, et al.), but one of them, English Prime (E-Prime) creates semantic memory interference and interlopes on subconscious language processing systems. E-Prime used as a literary constraint “offers access to dynamics of language ordinarily subliminal” (Zimmerman 2001). Experiments with this constraint reveal a proliferation of transliminal detail, the space between the supraliminal and subliminal spectrum of the narrative usually occupied with presumptions made with the is of identity and the is of predication. Communication theory tells us the quality of a message depends on the ratio of signal to noise. A conscious manipulation of dynamic signals inherent in English utilising E-Prime as a literary constraint requires a complete overhaul of not only personal writing stylistics, but individual ways of seeing and thinking about our semiotic environment; i.e. “Writing/speaking in the English language without the copula; excluding tenses of the verb to be (are, am, is, was, were, be, been and being) and/or their contractions” (Bourland 1989: 203). If, as Bourland suggests, misuse of the copula results in Deity mode of speech (Bourland Jr & Kellogg III, 1990) then not using the copula results in Human mode of speech. I composed the creative work using this constraint. Typically a literary work composed using a constraint requires some form of explicit instruction for the reader. Scoundrel Days does not require any reading instructions. Research reveals that since the invention of the constraint in 1933 until the present no one has written a creative work in 100% E-Prime (Bourland Jr & Kellogg III, 1990). Therefore, I present Scoundrel Days as the first creative work in history written in 100% English Prime. The result? The problem of show don’t tell fades to insignificance as the narrative moves from the showing to the doing. The process of authoring this work proved an interesting and creative endeavor, recorded in following exegesis.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Hum, Lang & Soc Sc
The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.