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Sleeping with the enemy : creative writing and theory in the academy

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conference contribution
posted on 2010-01-01, 00:00 authored by Cassandra AthertonCassandra Atherton
This paper will contend that as literary studies elevates creative writing to the highest level, by studying and analysing creative texts; creative writing is similarly enhanced when it is underpinned by theory. This flies in the face of the view that theory has no relevance to the needs of contemporary writers. This paper will examine the way in which theoretical insights and their applications are essential to the creative writing process and propose that without theory, creative writing classes might be at risk of constantly going over the same ground, with no way of being elevated to the next level.
Without the study of literary theory in creative writing, writers are in danger of producing imitations of acclaimed literature. Similarly, without studying creativity in literary studies, writers are at risk of imitating the language of French theorists in translation and failing to harness imaginative ways to create new ideas and theories. This paper encourages new ways of thinking about the union of literary studies and creative writing by focusing on theories and poetry of the sublime. This can assist creative and analytical writers with the anxiety of the blank page and the problem of the ineffable, through an examination of the role of imagination and reason in this process. Creative writing and theory should be studied simultaneously; they invigorate one another and this paper focuses on this important reciprocal relationship.



The Australiasian Association of Writing Programs conference (15th : 2010 : Melbourne, Vic.)


1 - 10


The Australasian Association of Writing Programs


Melbourne, VIC

Place of publication

Melbourne, Vic.

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2010 , The Australasian Association of Writing Programs


C Cole, M Freiman, D Brien

Title of proceedings

AAWP 2010 : The Strange Bedfellows or Perfect Partners Papers : the refereed proceedings of the 15th conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, 2010

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