A materialist and intertextual examination of the process of writing a work of children's literature

Rosen, Michael (1997) A materialist and intertextual examination of the process of writing a work of children's literature. Doctoral thesis, University of North London.


This thesis comes under the terms of Clause 3.2 in the booklet Research Degrees, Regulations and Notes for Guidance for the University of North London where it is stated that 'A candidate may undertake a programme of research in which the candidate's own creative work forms, as a point of origin or reference, a significant part of the intellectual enquiry.' This work, 'shall have been undertaken as part of the registered research programme.' Furthermore, it is stated that the 'creative work shall be... set in its relevant theoretical, historical, critical or design context.' (University of North London 1996: 6)

The creative work consists of 65 poems intended for an audience of children and the critical work of the thesis is a process of research into the sources and origins of those poems. It is therefore an enquiry that seeks to uncover how a highly specific mode of literature comes to be written.

It is my contention that descriptions of such a process are unsatisfactory unless they incorporate and combine the following four elements:

i) an examination of how the particular self under consideration (me) was formed in a specific socioeconomic, and cultural moment;
ii) an examination of how, within that moment, that self engaged with the texts made available in the institutions it occupied;
iii) an explanation of how the writing involved a synthesis of experiences - of life, texts and audiences;
iv) an explanation of how a writer reads his or her own writing.

The first two of these elements comprise the 'historical.. .context' noted above and the second two offer aspects of a 'theoretical.. .context'.

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