University of Sussex
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‘Ugly Lovely’ - being a work of creative writing with accompanying critical commentary

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posted on 2023-06-08, 16:30 authored by Richard Jonathon Beynon
The title of the creative work is ‘Ugly Lovely’. The 20,000 word critical discussion of the creative piece has no title, other than that it offers a critical consideration of the relationship between the literary composition and contemporary or traditional achievements in the genre. The creative work concerns a taxi driver named Don, living in the south Wales port of Swansea. He finds his life and culture unsatisfying, but is unable, because of his own lack of will and energy, to leave. His passengers, some of whose lives have an orbit beyond the small-ish Welsh city, bring his sense of dissatisfaction into focus. The work follows a sequence of episodes during which the driver meets and reflects on the remarks and actions of subsequent passengers, and considers his own family and life. Structurally, the work takes the form of a story-cycle concerning or emanating from Don or from the passengers in his taxi. The passenger narratives sometimes present complete stories or self-contained episodes, sometimes broken or partial narratives. All episodes stand in relief against the other fractured narrative running through the work, the driver’s self-reflection and re-evaluation of the family life and up-bringing. Thus: 1) Taxi stories – involve the characters who step in and out of the taxi. These stories centre upon a cast of characters who enter the driver’s working world, but also present to reader the a secondary cast of characters introduced by the passengers, through the stories they tell. The role and status of the driver shifts as the work progresses. At the close of the work, though the driver’s future, like the futures of his town and nation, remains unassigned, he approaches it with a firmer sense of purpose (if not direction). 2) Connected family narratives - gradually present fragments from the history and lives of the main figures in the driver’s family. Through these frequently conflicting and contesting narratives, the work delivers a number of perspectives on the history of the town in which the family lived and through which the taxi stories now move. These separate narratives are arranged out of linear sequence, in an order which has greater correspondence to their emotional importance, and in response to triggers set within the various passenger narratives. The contesting nature of the family stories raises questions in the reader’s mind about which narratives are privileged, and which reliable. As the work progresses, the realisation comes that none of the narratives is privileged, that all may be unreliable and all contest for dominance and primacy in the driver’s mind. The critical element In providing a ‘critical consideration of the relationship between the literary composition and contemporary or traditional achievements in the genre’, this commentary will present I. a general introduction to the creative work, II. discussion of the narrative form and organisation of the work, comprising: a. consideration of the ways that the work is shaped by modernist concerns and structures, particularly those of the modernist ‘city novel’, b. consideration of the way that the work is structured to present a collection of linked and inter-related narratives, broadly referred to as a short-story sequence III. discussion of the extent to which the work can be placed within the canon of Welsh writing in English; in particular: a. the ways in which the work constitutes a recognisable piece of Welsh writing in English and the extent to which it treats the concerns of one of the national literatures b. the ways in which the work makes considered and constructive use of its setting in Swansea.


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  • doctoral

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  • eng


University of Sussex

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