Abstract: This paper explores the idea of writing an eisegesis as part of a creative doctorate. Not that its more commonly named cousin, the exegesis, is not such a bad way to describe, in general terms, what is being written when writing ‘the other bit’ of a creative writing higher degree dissertation, but it has its limitations. Eisegesis allows for a more subjective exploration of text, for play and uncertainty – ‘faulty interpretation’ – which in turn can lead the creative researcher to a more expansive way of approaching and writing the companion volume necessary to the fulfillment of a higher degree by research. In this essay I will expand on the idea of writing eisegetically through the prism of my own experience of writing a doctoral dissertation, by harnessing visual images and association and the ‘irresistible field’ of play.
‘In my family, there were strict rules. In my family, it was a brave person who conducted an exegetical analysis of a passage from the Bible. Exegeses were only for Biblical scholars to exercise; only for the clergy to sweat over who had to compose sermons each week; who had to find some meat to fill 45 minutes of theological air on Sundays. Becoming an Exegete was only for the men of the church who were the ones who ended up in Bible college and who were the ones who came back into the pulpit in robes, with Bibles in their hands and blessings to impart. Not that I did not try – piping up, that is, with my own exegesis.’
‘“Loose thinking”: writing an eisegesis’, TEXT online journal, vol 13.1, April, 2010
Image: Quiddity, jelly-book, from ‘A book of breathing’, Schloss Haldenstein, Switzerland, 2007