The emergence of women's creative identity through narrative construction
Murray, Alison Elaine
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This dissertation investigated whether women's traditional work, that is, the work of nurturing others, could rightly be classified as a form of creative expression. This was achieved through a theoretical analysis of the concept of creativity and a qualitative study of Virginia Woolf's creative identity as articulated in her female character, Clarissa Dalloway, in her novel, Mrs. Dalloway (1925/1993) and coeval diary entries (1978, 1980). Five historical epochs were identified in the history of the concept of creativity, which were thematically determined, including, 1) ancient philosophies, 2) philosophies of the 4th to 15th centuries, 3) philosophies of the 16th to 18th centuries, 4) philosophies of the 19th century, and, finally, 5) philosophies of the 20th century. Whereas men's evolving conceptualizations of creativity were largely categorical, and appeared to value rationalism, individualism, control, mastery, and even superiority, women's generated systems of thought were more characteristically integrative, systemic, practical, and intent on the interpersonal. The study of Virginia Woolf's narrative revealed the same. In the process of writing her novel, Mrs. Dalloway (1925/1993), Woolf and her character, Clarissa Dalloway, were simultaneously recreated. Both of these women's creative identities, in fact, were inherently relational, as opposed to individualistic and isolated-a creative identity that is consistent with traditional models of men's development. Findings revealed from both the theoretical study of the concept of creativity and Virginia Woolfs creativity identity were used to construct a more universal theory of creativity that acknowledged the developmental strengths of both men and women. Additionally, findings were discussed relative to optimism, the narrative construction of a woman's creative identity, and education.
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