A Novella: The Odd House with Critical Reflection: Rethinking Depictions of Schizophrenia in 21st Century Fiction

Wylde, Richard (2023) A Novella: The Odd House with Critical Reflection: Rethinking Depictions of Schizophrenia in 21st Century Fiction. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

A Novella: The Odd House with Critical Reflection: Rethinking Depictions of Schizophrenia in 21st Century Fiction
PhD thesis
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Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


The creative part of this PhD takes the form of a novella entitled The Odd House. It follows a central schizophrenic character through his decline into illness, admission to a psychiatric hospital and him becoming a suspect in two murders. The aims of the novella are to provide schizophrenics an authentic voice, to undermine stereotypes of schizophrenia and to challenge and inform existing beliefs about the condition. The primary research problem is to explore whether depictions of schizophrenia in 21st Century fiction are authentic. By reflecting on my own creative work and practice, and comparing depictions with five other texts, I hope to shed light on whether, as my title for the Critical Reflection implies, there is a problem with/inaccuracy in how schizophrenics are portrayed. I believe there is a gap in knowledge because generally journals, reviews and papers which study the depiction of schizophrenia in the 21st Century relate to media representations and not so much specifically to literature. I also believe that the combined approach of creative practice alongside critical reflection and analysis can approach this topic in fresh ways and produce new insights. The focus of my PhD is to see if there are ways in which schizophrenia can be portrayed in a “fairer” light, in order that we can avoid stigmatisation and understand the condition more sympathetically. The methodology is a literary critical reflection which focuses on notions of authenticity in the portrayal of schizophrenia. The term authenticity will be discussed in detail in my critical reflection as the question of the validity of its use is a significant one. As the writing of The Odd House often relies on my own “lived experience,” the notion of authenticity is important and will need to be interrogated and evaluated critically. The methodological framework provides for this notion and looking at the works of the likes of Shoshana Felman (Writing and Madness) will help me to consider whether schizophrenia can be effectively represented, and whether the creative articulation of the condition in literature is impeded or assisted by the experience of psychological distress. Presenting an authentic literary character, and indeed establishing what this means, therefore requires deep reflection on one’s own motives for writing a character in a particular way. This is especially the case when the subject matter is so personal and at least in part based on one’s own experience. Literary critical approaches such as those expressed by Catherine Belsey in Critical Practice and Pam Morris in Realism aid this process because they help me keep the primary issue of authenticity front and centre.

Keywords:Novella, Schizophrenia, Creative writing, 21st century literature
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W830 Prose Writing
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q323 English Literature by topic
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q321 English Literature by period
Divisions:COLLEGE OF ARTS, SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES > Lincoln School of Creative Arts > Lincoln School of Creative Arts (Fine Arts)
ID Code:56114
Deposited On:08 Sep 2023 09:52

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