Title page for ETD etd-10242011-122443

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Maccani, Mario
URN etd-10242011-122443
Document Title David Kramer – an unauthorised biography and creative nonfiction : writing an unauthorised biography of David Kramer
Degree PhD
Department Unit for Creative Writing
Advisor Name Title
Prof H J Pieterse Supervisor
  • approach to biographical subject
  • make-believe
  • influences
  • research ethics
  • bilingualism
  • conjecturing
  • propaganda
  • David Kramer
  • writing process
  • text
  • biography
  • novel
  • subjectivity
  • objectivity
  • truth
  • fact
  • faction
  • creative nonfiction
  • nonfiction
  • fiction
  • intertextuality
  • fictionalisation
Date 2011-09-08
Availability unrestricted
This study is comprised of two parts: an unauthorised biography of the South African musician David Kramer, as well as a reflective look at the process of writing this biography. In this regard the following aspects were looked at closely: finding an appropriate style, biography versus propaganda, conjecturing, the bilingual nature of the text, problems of research, ethics, influences, make-believe, approach to the subject, intertextuality, and fictionalisation. The central question of the biography is to highlight the success of a fellow Worcester (the author’s hometown) boy. The central research questions of the thesis are the fictionalisation of the nonfiction text, intertextuality, and the question of a text written in both English and Afrikaans.

With regard to the aforementioned fictionalisation, a biographical text is classified as “nonfiction”, because it deals with a real person and real events. However, a text such as David Kramer – an unauthorised biography presents an alternative perspective, in that the narrative often moves into fiction, or “creative nonfiction”.

Written texts are traditionally divided into two fields: fiction or nonfiction. Nonfiction is deemed to be fact, truth, whereas fiction is the fruit of an author’s imagination. But perhaps the notion of truth versus untruth is too limited, and one should include the words “objectivity” and “subjectivity”. Some texts incorporate both elements, be they newspaper editorials which are mostly opinion, advertisements which are highly subjective, or biographies such as Taraborrelli’s Madonna – An Intimate Biography, which often reads as a novel. This doctoral thesis looks at David Kramer – an unauthorised biography, which is at times “faction”, to illuminate the sections where the text fell somewhere between fiction or nonfiction.

In attempting this exercise, intertextuality was useful in two ways. Firstly, to ground the text in a reality the reader could believe, as it brought “real” things to the text, such as song lyrics, photographs, et cetera, all things which brought some credibility to the truth of the text, and secondly to place the events being described in a certain timeframe.

The use of English and Afrikaans in the biography was to reflect that Kramer uses both languages in his songs, and furthermore, to give an idea of the South Africa at the time of Kramer’s early success: the divides of English/Afrikaans, white/black, liberal/conservative.

© 2011 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Maccani, M 2011, David Kramer – an unauthorised biography and creative nonfiction : writing an unauthorised biography of David Kramer, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-10242011-122443/ >


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