I want to first of all apologise to everyone for the sudden inundation of new posts from me this past week or so. Not only have I recently had a lot to tell you about, but I also fell behind in making the re-caps of the Writing Spaces lectures and I really wanted to catch up on them.
As a part of our next assignment, Writing Spaces students have been asked to hand in a creative piece (both a first draft with workshopping notes and a final draft) and an exegesis. So our lecturer thankfully decided that he should probably explain to us exactly what an exegesis is, especially in relation to writing and what we've been asked to do for our assignment.
Exegeses are self-analytic critiques and reviews of the process of how something, in this case our creative writing piece, was produced, or an explanatory note of discourse. They can be done in the form of a video or in writing. An exegesis comments on and/or seeks to explain one's own creative work. They can often be found in books in the form of a preface, introduction, apology, foreword, afterword, author's note, or footnote.
This is the example video on YouTube that we were shown in the lecture. (Had trouble embedding the video to the post for some reason... sorry!)
An exegesis can be used to explain the writing, the creative processes, and the methods used. It can also be used as a way of providing guidelines for readers by giving them relevant information about the research that was done for the story, relevant information about yourself as the author, creative strategies, and as a chance to discuss issues around the work. This is where an author can explain their motives and reasons for writing, their doubts, successes, and difficulties, and general advice on how it would be best for the reader to approach the work. Basically, an exegesis is written in the hope of providing a better or more informed experience for the reader by focusing on what you as the author think is especially important for the understand of your work (e.g. your creative process, your diagnosis of your own achievements, or your understanding of your own motivation).
A good exegesis contains astute critical thinking, and an understanding of: the context of your creative piece; techniques/strategies; your field and others in your field; decisions you made as you created; and your work overall. It could also contain perceptive research and investigation of the issues that were significant to your piece and into the workings of your own mind, emotions, practices, and methods.
An exegesis is theoretical in the sense that it creates insights that can be used to think about other works as well as the one discussed by its creator. I say creator here because exegesis and theory is not limited to the art of writing. It is theoretical because while it is more than a hypothesis of how something was made, it doesn't go out of its way to state or explain the obvious.
So this is going to be an interesting assignment, seeing as my creative piece is a creative non-fiction recount of writing my W.I.P KATHERINE and is in a way an exegesis itself, and I have to write an exegesis on that... hmm.
Have you ever written an exegesis?