Creativity and Contingency

Karin Kukkonen investigates how authors put the unexpected to productive use in imagining, drafting and revising their novels. She draws on historical representations of creative processes in literature, draft manuscripts and interviews with contemporary authors.

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Karin Kukkonen

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Writers work with the contingent. What might happen but might just as well not come to pass, namely, the contingent, is integral to the ways in which writers try out elements of narrative, word choices, etc. Contingency in the creative process unfolds at the interface between authors’ experimentation, pen and paper, language and the imagination. In this project, Karin Kukkonen investigate how literary authors work with contingency and what strategies they deploy to shape it.

For the investigation of creativity and contingency, this project draws on

  1. (1) historical representations of creative processes in literature, f.ex. when narrators comment on how a story is invented, how a solution to a narrative problem is found, or how characters take a life of their own
  2. (2) draft manuscripts of literary texts allow us to trace how authors think with pen and paper
  3. (3) interviews with contemporary authors to explore how the provoke and prepare for the contingent in their writing practices

Creativity and Contingency embeds the analysis of literary texts, draft manuscripts and interviews in the conceptual framework of predictive processing, theorising how probability designs are devised in the creative process.


More on Probability Designs.


Karin Kukkonen is Professor in Comparative Literature.

Tags: Creativity; Cognitive Literary Studies; Predictive Processing
Published Mar. 20, 2022 2:35 PM - Last modified Mar. 20, 2022 2:44 PM