How critical is Creative Writing? Malcolm Bradbury and the ‘serious’ writer

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Recent reappraisals of the origins of the MA in Creative Writing at UEA by Kathryn Holeywell (2009) and Lise Jaillant (2016) have brought Malcolm Bradbury’s contribution into question. This article identifies that contribution as a greater emphasis on literary criticism and theory, which Bradbury maintained from the beginning of the MA until his retirement from teaching. Despite the arch treatment of poststructuralism in his fictional works – most overtly in The History Man (1975) and the academic parody Mensonge (1987) – Bradbury’s definition of the ‘serious’ writer emphasised an awareness of, and engagement with, the developments of literary and cultural theory. Looking at archived teaching notes from the 1989 module ‘Fiction and the Creative Process’, we see how Bradbury sought in his teaching to bring criticism and creation into closer proximity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalNew Writing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Nov 2022

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