My Undergraduate Dissertation

My undergraduate dissertation was practice-led and consisted of a long-form short story and an accompanying reflexive essay. My prose featured a first-person unreliable narrator and focussed on themes such as memory, truth and loss. My critical essay examined my writing process.

The genesis of my dissertation idea was as follows. Firstly, I happened upon some diary pages originating from 1945 on the pavement. I was fascinated by the idea that a person is capable of unreliably narrating their own life. A diary, for example, is a powerful example of a highly subjective narrator. Secondly, in Glasgow’s Riverside Museum, I noticed a display that focussed on a photographer called Mr Ovinius Davis. The segment explains that Mr Davis was not only a photographer, but also an artist. This forced me to consider the notion that photographs can also be subjective. With both of these concepts in consideration, I decided that ultimately my prose would explore the relationship between subjectivity and long-term memory recall, and the differences between the terms ‘fact’ and ‘truth’.

In particular, I was influenced by the following novels:

  • An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Sea by John Banville
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I received a first-class grade for my dissertation and received some helpful feedback that will allow me to improve my story further. My hope is that, in the next few years, I will be able to develop my dissertation into a novel and submit it for publication.


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