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Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press

COLLECTED ESSAYS ON LITERATURE AND CRITICISM:

EFN2

EXPERIMENTAL FICTION NOW


  • A survey of current writers whose work might be called "experimental." Includes a prefatory discussion defining terms, as well as essays on David Foster Wallace, George Saunders, Gary Lutz, Ben Marcus, Mark Danielewski, John Keene, Shelley Jackson, Steve Tomasula, more than a dozen others.
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Iww

INNOVATIVE WOMEN WRITERS


  • "I offer here no overarching theory about the nature or direction of innovative writing by women writers, although as I do note in several of the essays in the first section, there is a recognizable affinity among numerous current writers for what I am here calling 'fabulation.'" Includes essays on Rikki Ducornet, Aimee Bender, Noy Holland, Helen DeWitt, Eimear McBride, more than a dozen others.
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APF (2)

AMERICAN POSTMODERN FICTION


  • "Although the term has come to identify a general attitude toward traditional intellectual assumptions or, more specifically, discernibly related practices in philosophy, the social sciences, and all of the arts, "postmodern" was originally a critical label attached to an emergent group of American fiction writers perceived to be challenging established literary convention."
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Realisms

REALISMS

BSS

BETWEEN SILLINESS AND SATIRE:BLACK HUMOR FICTION


  • In the early to mid 1960s, an iconoclastic mode of American fiction that came to be called "black humor" presaged the larger movement succeeding it that eventually came to be known as postmodernism. This volume looks at the essential features of black humor fiction, with essays on all the major black humorists: Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Bruce Jay Friedman, Terry Southern, and more.
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AODPurdy

THE ART OF DISTURBANCE: THE NOVELS OF JAMES PURDY

My Post (6)

MANY WINDOWS: ON EXPERIMENTAL FICTION


  • Is a work of experimental fiction really an experiment? What was metafiction? Experimental fiction and tradition. New Romancers. Poetic structures. Fiction as performance. Varieties of experimental fiction.
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Angle

A WIDER ANGLE: AMERICAN FICTION AT THE PERIPHERY


  • Beyond the major publishers’ seasonal lists to out-of-the-way presses and lesser-known writers.
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Litsphere

THE LITERARY SPHERE: TAKING CRITICISM ONLINE


  • "In this volume I have included most of my substantial posts on the blog as medium, as well as literary culture online in general. . .They are presented in chronological order, from 2004 to 2019. I have chosen this arrangement because it shows the development of my thinking about online literary criticism and because it may perhaps be interesting for readers to survey the issues that arose as literary blogging itself developed. "
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Tiol

THE IDEA OF LITERATURE


  • What do we talk about when we talk about literature? This volume explores that question by, first of all, looking "inside the text" at the dynamics of reading and the tangible effects of writing. It then moves "outside the text" to consider the relevance of social context and culture to perceptions of literature, as well as the assumption it is the writer's job to "say something" of political or moral value in addition to (even as a substitute for) creating literary art.
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My Post (5)

LITERARY AESTHETICS

Lituni

LITERATURE IN THE UNIVERSITY


  • Inventing Literature. Performing Literature. Reading Literature. Theorizing Literature. Historicizing Litera- ture. Relinquishing Literature. Reclaiming Literature?
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LR

LET'S REVIEW: BOOK REVIEWING AS LITERARY CRITICISM


  • A collection of essays considering the current state of general-interest book reviewing. Topics include: negative vs. positive reviewing, gatekeeping, writers reviewing writers, and criticism in cyberspace, among others.
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« Marital Matters | Main | Not in this Lifetime »

07/01/2004

Comments

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Kevin Holtsberry

Brilliant evisceration. What an absolute waste. What, books are neutral inanimate objects rather than an unalloyed moral good? Who would have guessed? Is this what it means to be sophisticated these days . . .

Moira Russell

And as my father used to say -- Folks, that's how it's done downtown.

(This is a big compliment.)

I'd actually mildly quibble that time spent reading a book -- any book -- is better for you than an hour of typical television, but that's minor in the face of your criticism, especially the last paragraph. Bravo.

Bookenomics & Policulture

Excellent rebuttal and I thank you for the continuation of the Emerson quotes. I'm not one to go to book fairs and such, but nonetheless found Nehring's article insulting.

I can only add to your comments, because I have seen Stone Reader, that I think the point of the film (in terms of Nehring's condescension of it) is that books take on great meaning in our lives. What she mistakes for idolatry or fetishization is the appreciation of that, dare I say, mystical quality that great books take on when a mere collection of words are arranged such that they can make you see the world, or yourself, in a new way.

But the film is also about writers and how difficult the process of writing can be (illustrated by Dow Mossman's experience writing the novel that is the subject of the film). There is nothing vacuous here. The discussions in the film are with scholars, editors, literary agents, other readers, and of course, writers. The filmmaker is not only an avid reader, but states that he has attempted to write a novel himself. I can't think of a better way to discourse with one's books than to write.

Lastly, the scene from which she quotes takes place at a local library and is of two guys reminiscing about books they read as kids (and obviously, some more recently). As you point out, an in depth conversation would have been out of context and not necessarily appropriate in a relatively short film. Only the most narrow minded snob would think otherwise.

birnbaum

Daniel:

I think it's time for you to start thinking about a book—some of your recent posts (like this one) should be in what the kids call "hard copy", no?

Dan Wickett

Excellent idea from Mr. Birnbaum (not that that's surprising at all).

arthur

Uh, yeah, like, duhhh.

Dan Green

Thanks to everyone for the complimentary words. As for that book: perhaps I'll have something more to say about this at a later date.

George T. Karnezis

The first lengthy response to Nehring's piece seems off the mark and to position her wrongly. (I've recently discovered her work to my delite: it's erudite, witty and refreshing; she is someone who knows how to read and understands that criticism is judgment without being judgmental. Check out her review of Greenbladt's Shakespeare biog to see what I mean.) While I would agree that there is a bit too much hermeneutics of suspicion in this piece, and that she leaves one sometimes feeling there's no place to stand between being EITHER a reader with your fists always clenched and ready to counter-punch OR as an impressionable biblio-idolator, she's done a lovely job here attacking the excesses of those who are unduly sanctimonious about reading and books. Regrettably, the title of her piece is misleading. A judicious reading of its content reveals that it should have been more aptly titled so as not to appear an attack on books, generally.

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On Contemporary Fiction