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Reflections on the Circumstances Leading to the Writing of the Permission of Night

David Henson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation consists of a novel excerpt as well as an exploration of the creative process that led to it. A novel that uses the sometimes harrowing blankness of the American Midwest and its seemingly non-existent cultural touchstones as a kind of nihilistic or void-filled powder keg of self-doubt and worry for self-critical artists and students, the novel ultimately concerns itself with self-imposed barriers to connection with those in their own immediate orbits. As characters attempt to define their lives based on their reactions to Elliott Smith albums and Stanley Kubrick films - stand-in for the lack of meaningful ritual or apparent cultural artifacts that their fictitious Midwestern town has failed to provide - they come to terms with the ways in which an identity is structured based on happenstance and inertia. From graffiti to Spinoza to Aleister Crowley to indie rock rattling mildewed basements, the novel sets out to find a sense of freedom that might exist alongside or outside the bounds of patriarchal authority, artistic or otherwise.

Subject Area

Creative writing

Recommended Citation

Henson, David, "Reflections on the Circumstances Leading to the Writing of the Permission of Night" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI29162813.