Writing and re-writing the Middle East
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This thesis is comprised of a critical component and a creative component. The creative component consists of a portfolio of creative writing drawn from a fictionalized memoir, and the critical component consists of three interconnected chapters analyzing the creative component. The creative component, titled The Accidental Peacemaker, has been written alongside my recently published (and related) book, How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment. It is a satirical, first-person fictionalized memoir about how the Middle East conflict manifests in North America, told from the point of view of a North American Jewish narrator. The critical component contextualizes the creative component by situating it within the disparate genres of creative writing that inform it, and by exploring its descent from them. Together, the three critical chapters argue that the creative component stands at the intersection of life writing, North American Jewish Writing, and humourous political writing. The first critical chapter, on life writing, examines the overlaps between fiction and memoir, and argues, in part, that from a creative writer’s point of view, a sharp distinction is challenging to pinpoint. The second critical chapter, on North American Jewish writing, explores some efforts that have been made to determine what characteristics identify “Jewish writing,” and which identifying marks are germane to this particular piece of creative work. The third critical chapter, on humourous political writing, argues that humour and politics are particularly intertwined in North American writing and media today, and that by using humour and first-person life writing, an author can probe into sensitive political terrain without as much risk of needlessly offending as they might have if they used other approaches.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Print and electronic copy restricted until 16th May 2016
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations
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