DOI link for English
DOI link for English
It is not dicult to argue that English is a creative subject. Imagine your favourite play, say Romeo and Juliet for example. Shakespeare’s creativity as a writer is continually re-examined and reinterpreted by the creative inspiration of directors, designers and actors. In this case, English shows itself to be a creative subject with aspects of performance art: in America, English is often referred to as a ‘language art’. When moulding language, the writer creates the text and the reader responds to the message. In doing this, the reader is invited to construct their own interpretation of the text which in itself is a creative process. It is for this reason that the study of literature is so fascinating because people’s views of a text vary so widely. All of these elements and more combine to give English its creative character. The work of accomplished writers is one source for thinking about creativity in the subject of English. Indeed some of the early modern research on creativity (for example by Mihaly Csikszentmihályi, David Feldman or Howard Gardener) was built on analyses of creative people. Helen Cresswell, a prolific and talented author for both children and adults, describes her way of composing:
With most of my books I simply write a title and a sentence, and I set o and the road leads to where it finishes. All my books are like journeys or explorations. Behind my desk I used to have this saying by Leo Rosten pinned up on the wall that went ‘When you don’t know where a road leads, it sure as hell will take you there.’ When I first read that, I thought, that’s exactly it! That’s what happens when I start on my books – I really don’t know what’s going to happen; it’s quite dangerous, in a way. I often put o starting because it seems a bit scary. Yet at the end of the day, I feel that a story has gone where it’s meant to have gone. (Carter, 1999: 118)
Philip Pullman, the author of His Dark Materials trilogy, reveaed this about stimulus:
I did Paradise Lost at ‘A’ level, and it’s stayed with me all the way through until
I was beginning to think about Northern Lights (the first book of the trilogy). But my writing of the book came as a result of a meeting with David Fickling of Scholastic Books. David said he wanted me to do a book for him. I said that what I really wanted to do was Paradise Lost for teenagers. So he asked me to develop the idea. O the top of my head I improvised a kind of fantasia on themes from Book 2 of Paradise Lost … By this time I knew the kind of thing I wanted to do – I knew the length, I knew it was going to be in three volumes and I knew it was going to be big and ambitious and enable me to say things I’d never been able to say in any other form. (Carter, 1999: 188)
Notice here the way another text was the inspiration; the social aspect of being a writer shown through the conversation with a publisher which was also a stimulus; the importance of knowing how long a piece of writing is going to be; and the opportunity to say what you want (within the limits of the law!). But it is interesting to compare Cresswell and Pullman’s approaches with the view of the great Columbian writer Gabriel García Márquez who wrote the astonishing One Hundred Years of Solitude.