Btb-front
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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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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« Deep Significance | Main | Nattering On »

12/20/2005

Comments

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Captain Kidd

"If there are 'rules,' they are only those that ought not to be violated if the writer wants his work to be included in this category."

With due respect to your overall antipathy for MA creative writing programs, I don't think if a story bends generic or stylistic boundaries ("rules"), then the story of necessity eradicates its bid for inclusion in the transgressed category. Tristram Shandy, for example, seriously interrogates his contemporary novelistic conventions of micro-precise hyperrealism, authorial and didactic policing, the purpose of "suspense" or delayed narrative disclosure, slapstick and grotesquerie, and the dyad of sentimentalism and irony. See Thomas Keymer Laurence Sterne and the Moderns for full argument. But Tristram Shandy is still a novel. The most original novels and stories plug into the accumulated rules and traditions (never monolithic in nature) of storytelling, and then offer their own unique spin.

I only mention this b/c your most recent post also seems to neglect the notion that a work of fiction can be "postmodern" and ingenuous or unguarded as well, without being sentimental bullshit.

Dan Green

I don't have antipathy for M.A. creative writing programs. I possess an MA in creative writing.

I did not say "if a story bends generic or stylistic boundaries ("rules"), then the story of necessity eradicates its bid for inclusion in the transgressed category." I said just the opposite.

Captain Kidd

Sorry for confusions. I mean to address your substantive point.

Your sentence:
"If there are 'rules,' they are only those that ought not to be violated if the writer wants his work to be included in this category."

My sentence:
"...if a story bends generic or stylistic boundaries ("rules"), then the story of necessity eradicates its bid for inclusion in the transgressed category."

These sentences seem roughly synonomous. You might have misunderstood "transgressed category" to mean a new category of fiction that suberts or supplants a genre or style. But I meant the category (the genre or style) that was transgressed. If you concede to this latter meaning, you contradict yourself. You say that certain conventions of genre fiction are inviolable (if the writer wants the work to be positioned in terms of those conventions) on the one hand. On the other hand, you say the exact opposite, that certain conventions can be played with without transcending those conventions.

You don't have to answer this post. Time constraints and all. But I felt the need to clarify my point so we're not so evasive we're talking past each other.

PS: I guess I mean your antipathy for stict "rule" construction in MA creative writing programs. At any rate, my main argument is not affected by this qualifaction.

Dan Green

"You say that certain conventions of genre fiction are inviolable (if the writer wants the work to be positioned in terms of those conventions)"

But I don't say this. I say that fiction is such an elastic "form" that any conventions--especially the kind of conventions taught in creative writing classes--that might be identified as constituent of the form are impossibly constrictive. The short story isn't a pre-existing form except in the historical sense; its possibilities continue to evolve. This is what makes the positing of "rules" absurd.

Captain Kidd

You have a good point. But I wouldn't say the search for rules is then quixotic, just relative and evolving. You're calling for a nuanced, informed approach to literary form. It's hard to argue with this. I would argue, though, shooting fish in a barrel--not to say this is the worst instance of the stocking-horse syndrome; for "universalist" approaches to form and style is rampant all over the place and should be defended against--constitutes much of our contemporary blog form. Thanks for the response; I've been thinking about genre and form on a very general level a lot lately and this discussion has helped.

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Postmodern Confusions

AODPurdy

THE ART OF DISTURBANCE: THE NOVELS OF JAMES PURDY

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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