Campus competition

September 29, 2000

Further to Graeme Harper's excellent outline of the benefits of creative writing on campus, as one of the first two PhD students at Essex in this field, can I point out two more useful examples?

Writing as a way of studying literature has obvious benefits. I remember being set the task of composing a couple of stanzas in the style of Spenser's The Faerie Queen.

I certainly appreciated his skill as a craftsman in a way I could not have done before, as well as gaining an insight into how form works with content. Writing here encourages humility rather than the often perceived vanity of creative work.

The second, not unrelated point, is that the creative process and the learning process have a lot in common. A balance of the creative and the critical restores a perspective where literature regains its central relevance to our culture. Discuss in Spenserian verse.

Adrian May

Department of literature

University of Essex

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