This PhD represents a combination of a novel, FACE the Music, and accompanying critical commentary, ‘Beyond Words: Depression and the Constructed Self’. The novel is a creative interrogation of the effects of social isolation and chronic depression on creativity and personal identity. Set in Wales, FACE the Music tells the story of a young, struggling composer named Natalie after she is uprooted from her life in New York and sent to stay with her great aunt Gwyneth for six months. Struggling to manage her chronic depression, Natalie must also learn to navigate being a stranger in a strange land and find a way to connect with her great aunt. In the process, she discovers long-lost family secrets and finds a way back to the music that her chronic depression has been separating her from for a very long time. The critical commentary discusses several of the key theoretical considerations that informed this creative work. Beginning with a re-evaluation of the ‘mad artist’ stereotype, my critical work argues that true psychopathology is actually debilitating rather than invigorating to creativity. My second chapter examines the amorphous nature of depression as an illness, highlighting the ways that suffering from depression has a tendency to separate individuals from a coherent sense of self. The third chapter builds on this idea, drawing on contemporary trends in identity theory that claim identity is not fixed but incredibly changeable, and looking at the ways many of Natalie’s actions throughout the novel reflect subconscious desires to confirm preconceived notions she has about herself. The final section of the critical work addresses the Welsh setting of the novel and the plot structure—emphasising the ways FACE the Music is intentionally designed to end with hope, but without any false promises of a permanent cure for its protagonist’s chronic depression.
|Date of Award||2020|
|Supervisor||Jacqueline Yallop (Supervisor) & Luke Thurston (Supervisor)|
FACE the Music (CREATIVE work—novel) Beyond Words: Depression and the Constructed Self (CRITICAL commentary)
Beyer, A. C. (Author). 2020
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of Philosophy