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Type: Thesis
Title: On The Edge
Author: Knight, Martin Eddy
Issue Date: 2017
School/Discipline: School of Humanities : English and Creative Writing
Abstract: My creative work is a cycle of thirteen short stories entitled On the Edge. Each story is located in what might be described as Greater Port Adelaide. This is an area which stretches from Alberton and West Lakes northward through the historical port adjacent to the Port River and its Inner Harbour, and thence along the Le Fevre Peninsula from Birkenhead and Semaphore to North Haven and the Outer Harbour. Apart from a number of mansions and holiday homes built close to the beach by wealthy Adelaide businessmen around the turn of the 20th century the area has predominantly been occupied by members of the working class. By working class I mean that group of individuals normally regarded as wage labourers and their families, although under modern economic conditions many of its members are unemployed. Most employment in the area has traditionally been linked to shipping, the wharfs and numerous related maritime trades. Containerisation and other technical innovations drastically reduced the need for labour on the docks, just as globalisation has curtailed opportunities for local employment in manufacturing. It is the results of such shifts that my work seeks to illustrate by creating a montage of differing experiences for residents of the area. To emphasise the cyclical nature of the work I have started with the alienation of a school-leaver frustrated by his lack of opportunity and ended with the death of a seaman, a hang-over from the days of a more cohesive and politically committed society. There are also a number of characters who reappear or are at least mentioned in more than one story. As I was unaware of the existence of such a genre as a ‘cycle’ of short stories I have used my exegesis to undertake a brief enquiry into its history, concentrating on my proposition that such a genre is particularly suited to the exposition of social criticism. To this end I have traced its development from the ancient epic cycles, through the collections of the middle ages, to the final establishment of the cycle as a genre in its own right at the beginning of the 20th century. Subsequently I have concentrated on the works of two Australian authors, Frank Hardy and John Morrison, as I believe that each created a work that should be considered as a ‘cycle’ rather than as a ‘collection’ of short stories. It was reading Morrison’s Stories of the Waterfront that inspired me to write On the Edge. The exegesis begins with a short consideration of the differing modes of ‘realistic’ writing as this is the area I consider myself to be operating in. Indeed, in an era coming to be described as one of ‘post-truth’, I consider realism to be the method incumbent for a socially committed writer to utilise. The final chapter of my exegesis is concerned with those writers whom I feel have had a major influence on my own practice.
Advisor: Edmonds, Phillip
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2017
Keywords: Short story cycle
Port Adelaide
Description: Vol. 1 On the edge: Major work -- Vol. 2 On the edge: Exegesis
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