Madness and monologic fiction: a writer's journey through selected first-person literary constructs of the aberrant voice and, Headlong, a novel
This dissertation comprises a novel and a critical study. The novel is a predominantly first-person fictional text with a protagonist prone to psychosis; and the critical study, which transcribes the research journey that sustained and supported the novel, analyses signifiers of madness in a selection of first-person fictional representations and reflects upon their suitability for adaptation by the contemporary creative writer. In the Introduction to the critical element, I summarise the themes, the breadth of the analysis, and the criteria by which I focus my inquiries. I consider the influence of history, culture, geography, gender, and genre on the fictional voices of the mad. Chapter One investigates motivations and masks of madness, where the term 'motivation' is used in the sense of an actor researching the background to a part, and 'masks' - another thespian contrivance - describes the artifices that authors employ in order to obscure or regulate literary madness. This chapter contrasts some of the back-stories - or 'crack-stories' - of fictional madness. Chapter Two evaluates a selection of signs and symbols of madness in fiction, and examines specific stylistic techniques that creative writers exploit to suggest the active presence of insanity. The Conclusion summarises the contextualising research with an analysis of how these literary signifiers of madness have affected the composition of my own novel, 'Headlong', which completes the dissertation and follows the Bibliographies. I engage with applicable data from various areas of expertise during the dissertation; in particular, I reference works by psychologists, psychoanalysts, and social and cultural historians.
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