TMA03 – Creativity can be found in any text. Discuss.
What is a creativity continuum? Is it something from a science fiction? No, or not that I know of, but science fiction does feature on a continuum of creativity, along with other types of fiction, literature and texts from all genres. The focus of this essay will be to look at texts, from those traditionally considered to be creative, artful and even inspirational all the way to those considered to be purely functional and, or informative. I will analyse to what extent creativity is found in these texts and aim to show how creativity exists in many different ways and to many different degrees along a continuum of creativity. Firstly I would like to take a brief look at what creativity actually is. I think it is important to make a definition between artful and creative. In my opinion, art is something beautiful and, or inspirational and creativity is the creation of something new and original. Creativity and art however, are highly subjective, their recognition and appreciation are influenced by personal, social, cultural and historical factors amongst others. Linguistic art such as literature is certainly highly creative but there are also many texts that can be considered creative but may not be seen as artful or literary. Carter (1999) sets out three models of literariness, which look at creativity from different perspectives; ‘the inherency model’ which sees creativity as originating from the formal properties of language, (Maybin & Swann, 2006) ‘the sociocultural model’ which sees creativity as originating from the context from which the text emerges and ‘the cognitive’ model ‘which assumes universal human mental propensities for creativity in language’ and considers its cognitive effects (Maybin & Swann, 2006 P.416) I would like to start by looking at texts which are traditionally viewed as literary and artful such as novels, poetry and plays, which are produced specifically as an art form. In these types of texts it is relatively easy to identify creativity; language is carefully chosen and combined to be pleasing or thought provoking and as Carter says, in order to compact many layers of meaning into the words (Carter, 2004). From the perspective of the inherency model these types of text are the epitome of creative; their essence is the manipulation of the formal properties such as the sounds, rhythm, grammar or meaning. Because of their perceived beauty these types of texts have historically been highly esteemed for their creativity. At the other end of the spectrum there are many texts which are produced for informative or instructive purposes such as technical and scientific textbooks or instructions for assembly, use or procedures. From the perspective of the inherency model of creativity these types of texts are not considered to be creative. They do not usually contain instances of rhythm or rhyme and their writers do not try to imply layers of meaning or evoke emotional reactions from their readers. In fact these texts are usually written to be factual and easily understood. However, if we return to the difference between artful and creative, it is fair to say that these texts may be less artistic, beautiful or inspirational. If we look at how the vocabulary is chosen and combined though, then we are likely to see that in terms of the innovation and originality employed in order to achieve their particular purpose these texts are far from devoid of creativity. As introduced at the beginning of this essay, if creativity is seen as living along a continuum or a scale then the question is not is this a creative text or not, it is in what way is this a creative text? For example, I doubt that a parking ticket or a tax form have ever been considered as creative texts, however there are many ‘shades of grey’ in between parking tickets and canonical literature. As Carter and Nash say ‘Copywriting, report-writing, scholarly exposition,...
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