Writing about risky relatives and what might have been : the craft of historiographic metafiction

Milfull, Mostyn Timothy (2012) Writing about risky relatives and what might have been : the craft of historiographic metafiction. PhD by Creative Works, Queensland University of Technology.


This practice-based research project consists of a 33,000-word novella, "Folly", and a 50,000-word exegesis that examines the principles of historiographic metafiction (HMF), the recontextualisation of historical figures and scenarios, and other narratological concepts that inform my creative practice. As an emerging sub-genre of historical fiction, HMF is one aspect of a national and international discourse about historical fiction in the fields of literature, history, and politics. Leading theorists discussed below include Linda Hutcheon and Ansgar Nünning, along with the recent critically-acclaimed work of contemporary Australian writers, Richard Flanagan, Kate Grenville, and Louis Nowra. "Folly" traces a number of periods in the lives of fictional versions of the researcher and his eighteenthcentury Irish relative, and experiments with concepts of historiographic metafiction, the recontextualisation of historical figures and scenarios, and the act of narratorial manipulation, specifically focalisation, voice, and point of view. The key findings of this research include: identifying the principles and ideas that support writing work of historiographic metafiction; a determination as to the value of recontextualisation of historical figures and scenarios, and narratorial manipulation, in the writing of historiographic metafiction; an account of the challenges facing an emerging writer of historiographic metafiction, and their resulting solutions (where these could be established); and, finally, some possible directions for future research.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 51203
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Creative Works)
Supervisor: Carson, Susan & Gislason, Kari
Keywords: historical fiction, historiography, (explicit & implicit) historiographic metafiction, recontextualisation, literary studies, Australian literature, truth in fiction, unreliable narrator, genealogical relationship, narratorial studies, narratorial manipulation, voice, point of view, focalisation, practice-based research, creative writing
Divisions: Current > Schools > Creative Writing & Literary Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 28 Jun 2012 01:57
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 02:16

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