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Thinking up, writing down:the artistic creativity, phenomenology and neurobiology of the creative writing process

Davidson, Claudia I. (2020) Thinking up, writing down:the artistic creativity, phenomenology and neurobiology of the creative writing process Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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What happens in a writer’s head before the writing begins and while the writing is taking place? What are the internal processes involved in the thinking up and writing down of imaginative fiction? Cognitive science offers explanations based on scientific observation and measurement that are imminently rational, logical and readily depicted in neatly ordered models. However, none adequately reflect the descriptions contained in writers’ accounts of their lived experience of the creative writing process. These experiential and phenomenological accounts depict a complex, multi-layered process, that is often chaotic, uncertain and unpredictable; the descriptions peppered with references to non-cognitive factors such as intuition, inspiration, felt sense, incubation and the imagination. The two approaches, positivist and phenomenological, express themselves in different languages and thus seldom speak to each other. This thesis seeks to address this gap by facilitating a bridge between them. It proposes a neurophenomenological model of the creative writing process that allows lived experience to sit comfortably alongside contemporary neurobiological research findings, so that each enriches and informs the other. The model, therefore, provides a clear, systemic account of the creative writing process that embraces both its cognitive and non-cognitive aspects within a single, coherent framework that combines third-hand objective research with first-hand subjective accounts of lived experience, thereby yielding deeper insights into, and fresh conceptualisations of, the creative writing process. It thus constitutes an original contribution to the discourse on Creative Writing as a field of study that also has the potential to impact the discourse in a range of related disciplines, such as the visual and performing arts, cognitive science, cognitive psychology, philosophy, phenomenology and neuroscience. The greatest impact of this contribution, however, lies in the scope it provides for cross-disciplinary conversations, particularly those that bridge the long-standing gap between the science and the arts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Davidson, Claudia I.
Date : 28 February 2020
Funders : Self-funded
DOI : 10.15126/thesis.00853441
Contributors :
Depositing User : Claudia Davidson
Date Deposited : 06 Mar 2020 14:45
Last Modified : 06 Mar 2020 14:45

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