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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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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

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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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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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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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« Stock-Taking | Main | Pyschological Occurences »

03/24/2008

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Jim H.

Great post! Please continue your reading for those of us who haven't had a chance to read Brooks's book (or, frankly, even heard of it). Squaring up the personal and the social, the aesthetic and the realistic is one of my keen interests over at http://wisdomofthewest.blogspot.com

One shot: what we are able to perceive is conditioned by the society in which we live. Only as our consciousness is "raised" (forgive the infelicitous connotations) or expanded (ditto) can we begin to perceive other realities. That's why epiphanies and changes in character (or lack thereof) are so important for literary fiction.

Best,
Jim H.

the wandering jew

I believe it was Nabokov who said that "reality" is the only word in the language that only makes sense when preceded and followed by quotation marks.

Marina

Thank you for this interesting post. I have not read Brooks' book and I am not going to defend it here, but I will attempt to answer two of your concerns on his behalf.
1) Simply put, the case of the rise of realism in fiction can be presented as a formula:
"realist fiction=science+theory of history"
Each of these variables is a complex intellectual phenomenon in itself, with multitude of manifestations and implications. One may argue that with the rise of scientific thought literature centered around moral themes (like Pilgrim's Progress) gave its place to that which dealt with more worldly matters--
2) which brings me to your second concern: the role of the "issues being confronted" in literature and history, namely the subject matter. I think this is a simple subject matter of misunderstanding of Brooks' term and theory of history. He seems to point at the question that lurks in the background of most of history and is asked openly by evolutionists: how did things get to be how they are? The nineteenth-century vogue for buildungsroman may reflect one literary example "telling the story of how it came to be like this". Not everyone may consider this genre representative of the realist fiction, but then again neither Michelet nor Carlyle wrote scientific histories.

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LITERARY AESTHETICS

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LITERATURE IN THE UNIVERSITY


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