"Everything Beautiful is Far Away": (Collected Short Stories): Embedded Autobiography, Estrangement and the (Re)discovery of Self in Contemporary Short Fiction
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This thesis comprises a collection of short stories entitled Everything Beautiful is Far Away, supported by a commentary which explores ideas of self within the short story and locates my creative writing practice within the field of contemporary short fiction and theories of autobiography.
The collection Everything Beautiful is Far Away is made up of eleven stories that experiment with a variety of forms, from rhyming flash fiction to the novella, and fairy tale to psychotherapy, and as a substantial example of original creative practice stands as the main body of my thesis. The accompanying critical element is divided into three chapters, the first offering a survey of the aesthetic intentions underpinning the collection, as well as an introduction to the concepts of embedded autobiography and estrangement and establishment of the context in which my enquiry uses such terms. Chapter Two deals primarily with the notion of embedded autobiography and its manifestation within my own short stories, taking in the theories of Karen Horney, Celia Hunt, Ronald Sukenick and elements of psychoanalysis, (Freudian, Lacanian) whilst also considering the writings of Raymond Carver, Ian McEwan and Jean-Paul Sartre. The third and final chapter raises further questions about the concept of the Self in short fiction with specific reference to my own creative practice, the notion of transferring a story from the imagination to the page and the evolution of the project from novel to collection of short fictions.
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