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Notes Towards Recovery: a short story collection and exegesis

posted on 2023-09-01, 14:19 authored by Amy Louise Ells
My practice-based PhD consists of a creative work, Notes Towards Recovery, and an exegesis discussing my writing process. Notes Towards Recovery comprises twenty-one stories set in Canada, thematically linked through an exploration of absence and loss, in particular the spaces left in a family unit when one member is missing or has left through divorce, dementia or death. The critical essay opens with my aesthetic statement and explanation of how the themes of the stories are bound up with my past in terms of place, personal history and post-colonial influence. After suggesting that my subject dictated using the form of short story over any other, I discuss the importance of liminality to my fiction. My use of Boyd’s Converging Strange Loop methodology resulted in my weaving a study of Alice’s Munro’s recent fiction throughout my critical essay. I explain imitatio as I interpret it and demonstrate my practice of it using Munro’s work. I then explore how, by comparing versions of Munro’s stories as they appeared, first in magazines and later in Dear Life, I was able to focus on five key areas of her revision process. After analyzing how a close reading of her work shaped the way I approached the redrafting of my own short stories, I review stylistic choices I made when shaping my collection. In conclusion I examine how writing this exegesis has strengthened my creative work, and consider my future in terms of contributions to the academic conversation about Munro’s narrative strategies, and in terms of my own creative writing.



Anglia Ruskin University

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