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28 JANUARY 2016

Herland: the forgotten feminist classic from 1915

"Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novel, Herland, is regarded by many as the pioneering feminist utopian novel. Authored in 1915 (but published as a monograph only in 1978), Herland is intended as a social critique, and as a sociological theorist, Gilman sees herself as a change agent for a better social life for women especially, as well as society in general. Like other intellectuals at the turn of the 20th century, Gilman struggled to theorise her social vision, whilst simultaneously placing great efforts at promoting her vision in a package that is attractive to the masses. By self-consciously distancing herself from the intellectuals of her time, she crafted her works as endeavours at transforming society. With the utopian novel as her genre of choice, Gilman provides readers with a deeper sense of understanding of the ills of a society that subscribes to and is fixated with masculinity. As such, it is the contention of this paper to discuss Gilman's second novel, Herland as a feminist utopian novel critiquing some aspects of culture Gilman describes as androcentric and to briefly link the images portrayed by Gilman in Herland to the Jungian theory of archetypes with some reference to female archetypal images."

(Shahizah Ismail Hamdan and Ravichandran Vengadasamy, 2006)

Shahizah Ismail Hamdan, and Ravichandran Vengadasamy , (2006) Herland and Charlotte Perkin Gilman's Utopian Social Vision of Women And Society. e-BANGI: Jurnal Sains Sosial dan Kemanusiaan, 1 (1). pp. 1-8. ISSN 1823-884x

TAGS

191520th centuryallegorical displacementsallegory • Aryan women • asexual reproduction • biplane • Charlotte Perkins Gilman • critiquedystopian science fiction • expedition party • fantastical • feminist • feminist classic • feminist critique • Forerunner (magazine) • gender politics • held captive • Herland (1915) • human reproduction • ideal social order • imaginary worldsinfluential worksisland • isolated society • LibriVox • masculinity • moral speculation • motherhoodnovel • parthenogenesis • power • public domain audiobook • reimagined • revolutionary world • sci-fiscience fictionscience fiction fantasyshort storysocial constructionismsocial orderingsocietyspeculative fiction • uncharted land • utopia • utopian novel • what ifwomen

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 SEPTEMBER 2012

The History of Choose Your Own Adventure Story Fiction

"Choose Your Own Adventure's 'you' centered decision making, and exciting pace, has been cited as an influence in numerous games and media that followed the series. Examples of Choose Your Own Adventure's reference in the gaming world includes Japan's popular Bishoujo video games, which combine narratives with gameplay and mark the beginning of 'the trend in modern gaming toward using technology to allow players control over their stories... taking on characteristics of highly detailed Choose Your Own Adventure novels,' Choose Your Own Adventure is credited with partial responsibility for the heightened popularity of Role Playing Games, including Dungeons and Dragons. Other games which have been referenced as inspired by Choose Your Own Adventure include Mass Effect II which has a narrative–based adaptive difficulty setting where potential gameplay is altered by a player's decision–making early in the game and FormSoft's Adventure Player, a portable memory stick for PlayStation that allows players to build narrative–based games. The Interactive Fiction community has also credited Choose Your Own Adventure as being a major influence of their works."

(Chooseco LLC)

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TAGS

adventure game • Adventure Player (software) • Bishoujo (video games) • childrens bookschoose your own adventure • CYOA • decision makingdungeons and dragons • FromSoftware • game • game books • gameplaygamesinteractive fictioninteractive narrative • interactive stories • Mass Effect II (game) • memory stick • Memory Stick Duo • narrative-based games • novel • play novel • point of viewPSP • reluctant readers • role playingrole playing gamesstorystory-based experiencetheir storiesvideo game

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 APRIL 2012

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: the first true science fiction novel

"What many might consider to be true science fiction began to emerge during the Enlightenment in the early 16th Century as the Western world's understanding of science blossomed. Others identify Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, published in 1818 as the Industrial Revolution gathered pace, as the first true science fiction novel. Today it tends to be seen very much as gothic horror, but it relies heavily on extrapolating then current scientific understanding to extreme fantastical ends."

(Lynne Hardy, 1 August 2011, Celebrating Science)

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TAGS

16th century1818bio-ethics • Durham University • European Enlightenmentfantastical endsFrankenstein • gothic horror • human beingsindustrial revolutionMary Shelleymodernitymutant sciencenovelPenguin Random Houseposthumansciencescience fiction • science fiction novel • science-fictionscientific discoveries • scientific innovation • scientific theories • scientific understandingspeculative fiction • understanding science

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
06 JULY 2011

The creative writing exegesis sets off on its own trajectory: from reflective text, to parallel text, to plaited text

"The reflective journal exegesis, with its this–is–how–I–wrote–my–creative–piece approach, was soon deemed unexciting by creative writing candidates, supervisors and examiners. In the early 2000s, research scholars who had risen above questions like What is an exegesis? and Why do I have to do one? sought to achieve more with the exegesis form. They and their supervisors discussed the aims and focus of the exegesis and its orientation to the creative product (see dozens of articles in TEXT and, e.g. Fletcher & Mann 2004). The discussion questioned and attacked the exegesis, and also the gap between it and the artefact. This lent impetus to exploratory experimentation.

Departures from the reflective journal exegesis included the exegesis in the form of an essay providing a conceptual or historical framework – a mini–dissertation of the style familiar as submission for disciplines such as Literary Studies, Cultural Studies, History, Sociology or Philosophy – i.e. a prose work that swapped the tradition of the Creative Arts journal for traditions of academic writing in other Humanities disciplines. In this parallel text, the candidate might be seen to stop being creative writer, becoming instead the more disengaged and critical humanities academic. However, Butt takes an opposite view on this. She thinks, in examining the impact of outside influences on the writer and the writing, the parallel text 'is a conscious reflection of the largely unconscious act of writing' (Butt 2009: 55).

There's a schizophrenia apparent in this situation. The researching writer, trying to be creative writer, is forced back to the role of critic distanced from the process, as opposed to being critic inside the process. The exegesis here wasn't something home–grown in the Creative Writing discipline – it was an imposition from contextualising, 'more authoritative' disciplines – but was an initial extending of the umbilical cord between artefact and exegesis because it allowed the exegesis to be a parallel commentary with an implied relationship to the artefact, suggesting an added or alternative outcome to the research undertaken in writing the creative product. This raised the status of the exegesis from servant–to–the–master narrative to a sort of equal, to a narrative in its own right. An example of this is Nike Bourke's The Bone Flute – From the cradle to the grave (Bourke 2003), where the novel told a disturbing story about domestic violence and infanticide, and the exegesis was a study of infanticide in contemporary society.

In the early 2000s there was plenty of room for experimentation. In this context, two of my own candidates tested the idea of parallel texts brought together and plaited in the submission structure. Peter Wise, in The Turns of Engagement: A Thesis / Novel on the Circumstances of Writing (2001), presented exegesis and creative narrative as alternating, mirror–image, theory–then–fiction–then–theory chapters which blended together progressively until creative product chapters became, eventually, indistinguishable from dissertation chapters (Wise 2001). Wise's submission performed the evolution of fictocriticism, the creation of the thesis–slash–novel. It had a hard time passing examination in 2001.

In 2005, another student of mine, Marilynn Loveless, produced Mrs Shakespeare: Muse, Mother, Matriarch, Madonna, Whore, Writer, Woman, Wife – Recovering a Lost Life (2005). At Loveless's graduation, the Acting Dean refused to read out the title of her PhD; perhaps he considered it un–academic. The submission involved the chapters of a novel revealing Anne Hathaway as the real writer of Shakespeare's canon being alternated with the chapters of an exegesis about male–dominated discourse in the academy (Loveless 2005). Here the plaited texts worked off each other and created their own dialogue; Loveless's discontinuous narrative was about reading the gap between exegesis and artefact, and analysing it.

There's much to learn from the idea of the exegesis and artefact as plaited text. Barthes insisted on the death of the author because the exegetical wasn't present. He asserted that because the writer wasn't present in the work, the reader must alone create the work. But the creative writing doctorate's combination of creative product and exegesis insists on the writer's presence. The plaited text, in showing both the product and aspects of the process or its context, asserts the existence of the author."

(Nigel Krauth)

Krauth, N. (2011). "Evolution of the exegesis: the radical trajectory of the creative writing doctorate in Australia." TEXT 15(1).

TAGS

academic writing • act of writing • conceptual frameworkcreative arts • creative narrative • creative product • creative writer • creative writing • critical humanities academic • cultural studiesdeath of the authordissertation • doctorate • exegesis • exegesis form • exegetical • experimentationexploratory experimentation • fictocriticism • historical framework • historyhumanitiesliterary studies • narrative in its own right • Nigel Krauthnovelparallel textPhD candidatePhD supervisionphilosophy • plait • plaited • plaited text • prose • reflective journal • reflective journal exegesis • reflective text • researchresearch artefactRoland Barthessociology • submission structure • TEXT (journal) • the reader must alone create the work • thesiswriterwriting

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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