Put on a Noddies Coate

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This practice-based research combines a creative writing project—a volume-length poem called Put on a Noddies Coate—with an accompanying critical thesis. The poem recounts my psychogeographic walk along the route from London to Norwich which the fool Will Kemp morris danced in 1600. Using quotations from Kemp’s own account of his dance, Kemps Nine Daies Wonder, and other sources about madness and folly, my poem at times juxtaposes, and at times merges, our respective journeys, bringing the performed madness of the early modern fool into contact with my identity as a mentally ill person. Just as the fool was a disruptive presence on the stage, our combined journey disrupts the discourses about mental illness which shape the way I perceive myself and experience my place in the world around me. 

    The accompanying thesis consists of an introduction and three chapters. The introduction sets out the context for writing poetry about mental illness, covering theoretical work on madness as a social construct, the prominence of confessional poetry, and poets who have found alternative ways to write about mental illness. In the first chapter, I examine the early modern context of Kemps Nine Daies Wonder and how it partakes in discourses about madness and folly, arguing that Kemp emphasises the artifice of his performance. In the second chapter, I look at the impact of mental illness on my ability to do psychogeography and explain the characteristics that make my poem and others like it psychogeographic. In the third chapter, I examine my use of repetition and quotation, arguing that repetition is key to the construction of identity and showing how the quotations I use are transformed within my poem to critique the discourses about mental illness and madness which produce my identity as a mentally ill person.
    Date of Award9 Jul 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorJeff Hilson (Director of Studies) & Jane Kingsley-Smith (Supervisor)


    • Will Kemp
    • psychogeography
    • poetry
    • mental illness
    • madness
    • early modern fool

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