Turpin: the notorious – practice as research PhD in creative writing

Hagger, Alastair (2022) Turpin: the notorious – practice as research PhD in creative writing. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.

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Abstract

The life of the 18th-century criminal Richard Turpin has been re-imagined for nearly 300 years across a variety of genres and media: criminal histories, ballads, fiction, comic books, theatre, television and film. The thesis for this practice as research project draws from ideas in adaptation studies, biography and history, specific to the context of adapting the life of a real human being, to support the accompanying creative artefact, a four-part television mini-series script.
The thesis examines the ways in which an intertextuality between sources creates a palimpsest of stories, with multiple claims to an emotional or factual ‘truth’. This palimpsest, which forms a narrative framework for a new retelling of the Turpin mythology, is underpinned by storytelling positionalities such as realism, naturalism and melodrama, and the thesis interrogates the processes through which fidelity to factual source material, or other sources, shapes the structural and emotional evolution of any adaptation of history. The nature of ‘truth’ as a shifting, elusive abstraction is also explored in relation to mythmaking in cultural apprehensions of the nature of the outlaw and the antihero.
Resulting from these inquiries is a new model for creative writing based on a historical subject, the ‘hierarchy of hypotexts’. The fluidity and adaptability of this model is tested and articulated, alongside the ontological and epistemological positions which lie at its foundation. An exegetical discussion of the creative inspirations and decision-making processes that informed the construction of this model, and its implementation in the development of the artefact, serves as a discursive representation of the creative loop inherent in the formation of a practice as research project of this kind.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Identifier: 10.36828/vdjn3248
Subjects: Literature > Creative writing
Depositing User: Alastair Hagger
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2022 09:09
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2022 13:04
URI: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/9260

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