The Ancient Device

O'Sullivan, Simon D.. 2024. The Ancient Device. Charmouth: Triarchy Press. ISBN 9781917251013​ [Book] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

The Ancient Device is the story of four somehow familiar, rather dishevelled, sometimes sympathetic characters: Hare, Fox-Owl, Ribbonhead and King John.

We meet this dysfunctional and longing band of players on their journey to a site in the English landscape where they are to give a performance of sorts.

Yet exactly who they are, where they are and what they are up to, becomes increasingly uncertain as the book draws us into the mist, exploring and experimenting with notions of narrative and plot, psychology and self, performance and place…

Like the characters themselves, readers are unlikely to come out as they went in.

The Ancient Device is both a novel and an exploration of what the author calls the ‘fiction of the self’. The title of the book refers to this fiction that we all necessarily inhabit, but also to performance as a kind of device (and, indeed, the book as a device too). At stake in this exploration is also the development of an idea of ‘myth-work’ and how narrative and the laying out of imaginary landscapes and figures can work as a form of repair.

Item Type:



Performance, Walking, Pilgrimage, Mumming, Fiction of the Self, Myth-work, Fictioning, Art Writing, Theory-Fiction, Autofiction

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


1 September 2024

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

01 May 2024 10:49

Last Modified:

29 May 2024 21:27


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