Wrestling with Aristotle

Desmond Barry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    By following the self-reflective process from the inception of the novel The Chivalry of Crime, in one of the first classes of a MFA program at Columbia, to publication with a New York trade house, the article illustrates and examines how much a historical novel, whose stories are relatively well known to the general public through film, television, novels and literary works can find its own form with reference to classical Greek literary form, whether critical or creative. Greek poets took Homeric stories and recast them through the poet’s unique interpretation. This article examines the lessons learned and the tensions experienced after exposure to Aristotle’s Poetics, when the novelist’s previous influences were ‘experimental’ writers such as William S Burroughs and James Joyce. By examining the process of writing the novel from one-paragraph genesis to publication it is possible to unfold a narrative of struggle with theory, practice, pedagogy, and mentorship, which may be useful both to students and teachers of creative writing as they reflect on their own creative and pedagogical work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


    • Aristotle
    • process
    • mentorship


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