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Monday, September 16, 2013

Writing Spaces: Exegesis and Theory

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? 

- Bonnee.

16 comments:

  1. Nope, I haven't! But it sounds interesting - I might try it out! :) xx

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    1. I actually found the assignment fun as a way of exploration and noting how I wrote KATHERINE (though I haven't done the part that's MEANT to be an exegesis just yet).

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  2. You're doing an exegesis on an exegesis? Interesting.

    I have done them, I suppose, at least in part. I will sometimes type up a short paragraph on how I got a project started, but I haven't done anything deeper than that. In general, I think I would prefer to read an exegesis after reading the work itself--I would find it odd to have a writer telling me how to approach their work. Don't interpret it for me before I've had a chance to read it!

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    1. I think the 'tell-the-audience-how-to-interpret-something' is more in case there's something that could be very badly misinterpreted... of course, it's not a MUST for an exegesis, it's just one of the avenues an exegesis could take. :p

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  3. I've never done one. It sounds more detailed and in depth than my actual writing!

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    1. Honestly, I think a lot of blog posts could almost fall under the category of exegesis. Writing about how you write. Maybe give it a shot?

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  4. What a new word for me to learn: Exegesis. I'll leave the analysis of my writing and the motivations for my novels, once they get published. I see that your program keep you busy ..:) Good luck with your creative non-fiction recount of writing KATHERINE.

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    1. I like being busy, it means I'm not bored. Thanks for visiting Giora :)

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  5. Short answer: no. Long answer: I've never even heard of an exegesis.

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    1. I hadn't either until we started looking at the second assignment!

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  6. I think I've done a ton, but never knew that it was called an exegesis. Thanks for explaining that Bonnee.

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    1. I would never have thought it had a name like that myself if it hadn't been explained to me. Thanks for dropping by Denise!

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  7. I'm just so happy you explained what "exegesis" is :)

    (I said it out loud a few times, trying to figure out *how* to pronounce it correctly, and a little old lady looked at me, crossed herself and went somewhere else:)

    GOOD LUCK with your assignment... it sounds like it will be very interesting :)

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    1. That little old lady obviously doesn't know how to appreciate the diverse range of writing spaces that exist! ... How were you pronouncing it to make her cross her self and run away? Thanks for visiting Mark :)

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  8. It's rare I explain my creative process. I tend to shy away from it. Having said that, however, I'm thinking it's a good thing to do to aid that process. They're also handy once a piece is published too, especially in the case of blog interviews.

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    1. I think a lot of bloggers might talk about the things you'd put in an exegesis in their blog posts without realising, but it would definitely be useful to intentionally write an exegesis for a blog interview or something like that :)

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