Theory has been dead for well over a decade. But what was/is theory? And what lessons can we learn from its apparent demise? This chapter reassesses the significance of theory for creative writing research. It argues against a favouritism towards any one theory, for there are special affinities between creative writing and certain theories, particularly those underpinned by poststructuralist theories of language. This is partly because creative writers read and research differently from theorists and critics. While many theories highlight the textual specificity of creative writing research, they also highlight that, at its core, the object of creative writing inquiry is twofold, namely process and processor.By focusing on the case of psychoanalysis, this chapter argues for a privileging of a ‘theory without credentials’, one that would disrupt our certainties and thus open up creative possibilities that can in turn be theorised. A psychoanalytic understanding of subjectivity sheds light on the creative process and on the very concept of knowledge production in ways that are not envisioned by other models of subjectivity. Conversely, an examination of writing and research processes can help illuminate and expand on psychoanalytic understandings of subjectivity. Psychoanalysis is useful in that it suggests that both writing and the subject are constructions in the making. This has direct pedagogical implications: by grappling with the theory itself, new teaching methods and methodologies arise.
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