Some years ago, I began a line of research into how the development of sound technologies had impacted upon what their users did with them: how, if you like, the creative process was informed by the means used to facilitate it. The outcome of my research was a series of essays which, suitably illustrated and arranged into an approximation of chronological order, were assembled into a (somewhat primitive) website designed for use by my students. As such, it was not a great success but, as my academic career approaches its end, I find myself increasingly unwilling to abandon this work which, to date, amounts to the best part of 40,000 words. Accordingly, over the next few months, I’ll be revisiting these essays (some of which still remain incomplete) with a view to publishing them online here in a completed and revised form.
My intention is not to further refine their scholarship but rather to re-present them as writings that have a particular focus. In this, I have taken inspiration from the late WG Sebald whose writings were (it seems) neither fiction nor non-fiction: they were writings that started from one place and, in a meandering and discursive journey, informed us deeply about underlying themes, ideas and obsessions in a manner sometimes overt and elsewhere profoundly concealed by an ostensible subject or view. In this way, Sebald created a new art of prose quite unlike anything I’ve ever read with the possible exception of Proust (the difference being that Sebald is engaging and absorbing in a way that Proust simply isn’t).
These are literary concepts and approaches that will, I hope, inform my re-writing of my own work. I also have the idea that it might be interesting (if somewhat egocentric) to show the workings (as my maths teacher used to say) by publishing the original texts as well as the texts into which they are finally transmuted so, over the next weeks, the oringinal essays will appear here (in the category “Original Drafts”, to be followed by their revised versions (in the “Revised Drafts” category). It’s likely to be a slow process: it has to be since, as my academic swansong, it needs to be made right.
To make the whole thing accessible may neccessitate a redesign of this blog so please, if this project interests you, be patient!