MacAdams, Anneliese (2017) Any Other Mouth: Writing the Hybrid Memoir. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This Ph.D. by Publication comprises my short story collection, Any Other Mouth, along with a reflective and critical exegesis, which examines what I have termed the hybrid memoir. The term describes memoiristic texts that contain significant transgressions from the conventional memoir genre. As well as discussing the definition and its implications, this exegesis demonstrates that Any Other Mouth represents an original contribution to knowledge in the way that it engages and experiments with the hybrid memoir form.

In Part One, I define the term hybrid memoir, and explain why my definition differs to that of author/academic Natalia Rachel Singer, who in 2004 was the first person to suggest a definition for the term. With reference to Chris N. van der Merwe and Hein Viljoen (2007) and Vanessa Guignery (Eds. Guignery, Pesso-Miquel, & Specq, 2011), I discuss hybridity as a literary concept, and state that texts that occupy ‘liminal’ spaces can be transformative. By way of contrast, I clarify what is meant by a conventional (non-hybrid) memoir, using a definition by Thomas G. Couser (2011). I mention the problems encountered in producing the hybrid memoir definition, but argue that in spite of such complexities, I believe the term to be a useful tool for thinking about certain texts.

In Part Two, I discuss the rising popularity of hybrid memoirs, using David Shield’s (2011) Reality Hunger: A Manifesto as a starting point. I note the limitations of Shield’s work, but propose that it nonetheless provides a key resource in my discussion. I describe some of the significant transgressions from the conventional memoir genre that take place in Any Other Mouth, and also Dave Eggers’s (2007) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and David Vann’s (2009) Legend of a Suicide. I explain that these works provide
helpful comparisons to my own book, due to their hybrid forms and their explorations of filial bereavement. In relation to all three texts, I examine how the hybrid memoir provides authors with new opportunities for self-expression. Building on research carried out by Leigh Gilmore (2001), Elise Miller (2011), and Katarzyna Małecka (2015), I look at how trauma caused by filial bereavement can manifest in the hybrid memoir at a structural and linguistic level. I explore how hybrid memoirs can enable bereaved authors to effectively portray their emotions, and posit that the writing process can help transform grief.

The exegesis concludes by using Patricia Leavy’s (2014) text Method Meets Art to establish why I view my creative work as a practice-based methodology, and I discuss how my creative practice continues to engage with my research. After emphasising how important writing Any Other Mouth has been for me, I explain the limitations of my research, and identify areas where further research could be undertaken by others in the field.

FINAL THESIS - MACADAMS.pdf - Accepted Version
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