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

THE LITERARY SPHERE: TAKING CRITICISM ONLINE

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THE IDEA OF LITERATURE

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LITERARY AESTHETICS

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LITERATURE IN THE UNIVERSITY

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LET'S REVIEW: BOOK REVIEWING AS LITERARY CRITICISM

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01/17/2006

Comments

moriarty

There is something to be said for didactics, including some caricatures and pointers to know who the bad guys and floozies are. I d rather read say Tom Wolfes' Bonfire of the Vanities than some Mailer tome any day; and Dreiser over Fitzgerald really. Mere depiction ala Fitzgerald- Flaubert is a bit like straight vodka: not so tasty, and sort of dangerous. Or something like that. A few Pynchonian cartoony riffs too are not unwelcome, and may help the plot, themes, and "didactics" along too: the American realist school of Carver, even Updike again a bit too harsh in large gulps.

I've not read The Jungle but have read some of Sinclair's journalism, and while not such a fan, the sort of fiction as ethics--Steinbeck also in that crowd-- is perhaps too facilely dismissed by snooty lit. types. That's not to say that buying into the Sinclair socialist agenda also implies aligning oneself with Marxists; some of the American social realists (Frank Norris also in this category ) may have been forging their own native-born socialism which doesn't seem overtly marxist, but a bit more pastoral and Jeffersonian, for lack of a better term. That sort of pastoral leftism is pretty much a thing of mockery now--Jimmy Carter, Dick Gephardt the political representation of it--but at least in principle viable, however rustic.

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