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I recently gave a talk at my department’s postgraduate practice-based research seminar series in Bloomsbury, presenting under the title ‘The Zebra Did It: Dictionaries as Loci for Surreptitious Fictions’. The hour was an opportunity to present the various – occasionally digressive to the point of weasels – strategies by which I’m approaching my thesis and the ways in which factual dictionaries might be judged to contain or reveal fictitious and fictional content and whether such content can be assessed as ‘creative’ work. I also touched upon the problematic ethics of lexicography (its attempts to ‘register’ rather than ‘fix’ language and vice versa, for example), literary hoaxes, and dictionaries and encyclopedias’ permeability as texts. 

 

Trouble

 

Thanks to Dr. Kristen Kreider for setting up this great series, fellow participant and performance-philosopher Nik Wakefield, Prue Chamberlain for keeping me in coffee and to all the seminarees for their varied, nuanced and irritatingly useful psychotomimetic questions.

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