Creative Dissonance: Writing Now

Project: Other projectOther internal award

Project Details


A Research Strand of the Centre for Modern Studies (CModS) for 2017/18 and 2018/19. Co-Investigators: Dr Alexandra Kingston-Reese and Dr Bryan Radley.

Layman's description

How do today’s writers imagine the aesthetic? Hardly sentimental, contemporary aesthetic experiences frequently negate or ironically undercut the profound, verge on the automatic, and are troubled by dissonant feelings. Nevertheless, many current writers reconcile these anxieties with a concerted critical realignment in understanding artistic sensibility, literary form, and the function of the aesthetic to disturb the way we perceive and reflect on art. These creative interventions into critical practice in turn reflect an increasing dissonance in literary criticism: no longer satisfied with the strictures of critique, we are being encouraged to adopt deep reading, distant reading, and surface reading; to forgo reading suspiciously in favour of reading generously. Taking inspiration from the formal and affective dissonance so prominent in contemporary writing, the aims of this research strand are twofold: to explore the way that dissonance drives contemporary literary experimentation and to question dissonant new forms of literary criticism. The strand offers a series of events featuring leading literary theorists alongside creative practitioners (including the novelists Eleanor Catton and Sam Thompson). Building on the co-organisers' respective research projects on comic unease and aesthetic disturbance, this research strand develops and hones a new vocabulary for writing about fiction. ‘Creativity’ is at the core of this strand, which supports CModS’s ongoing contribution to one of the University’s Research Themes and helps to cement York’s reputation as a leading centre for the study of contemporary literature and creativity.

Funding for this CModS research strand was renewed for a second year in June 2018.
Effective start/end date25/09/1731/07/19