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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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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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02/27/2020

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steven augustine

"But I also think that Gessen and Roth are mistaken to assert that what litbloggers really want from their interactions with publishers and their consideration of particular books is "recognition" measured in "hits."

It's uncanny, Dan, but reading through the beginning of your collection, "The Literary Sphere," rekindles (no pun intended) those old emotions and I'm a (sort of) kid again.

But isn't it now obvious that many among us who *weren't* doing it for the "hits" were doing it for the book deals? Even the paper-based reviewers too often had their eyes on a mirage of greater glory, and I write that as a Lit-obsessive who caught more than one of those reviewers having (sloppily) skimmed the books under review. And it took me a few years to grok, for example, that very few of the supposedly-book-mad had actually read (e.g.) Underworld, or Sabbath's Theater, et al, more than once (or all the way through). I'd say that to some extent, after an ambitious kind of post-literate sophistication had settled in the culture after the Reagan Revolution, the "Literary Conversation" was, to some extent, a Potemkin Village of leather-bound life-stylers who wanted to see their names in lights (I'm thinking of one in particular whose avatar once featured a pipe). A few eventually did... though I'd be interested in the opinion of anyone who could argue, persuasively, that any of those hustlers, who crossed the blogging/paper published barrier*, did so with a masterpiece, a minor gem or even something merely "okay" worth a heated discussion.

If the passions were all genuine in 2005, why the post-plague silence now?

Anyone interested in Literary Passion need only amble over to the Pynchonite corner of the decimated map of LitBlogLandia, where readers are still thoroughly engaged in the opiate-bath of Lit-qua-Lit, with not a hope or dream of a book or movie deal... just doing it because they can't Not... and enjoying the corollary pleasures of intellectual community. That's where the action was and is and I've always regretted the fact that, as much as I admire Pynchon's arc, the texts don't really thrill me to the degree I wish they could. My loss!

But the long tail of the whimpering extinction of General Lit Blogging doesn't feel like nearly the loss that it should be; there was one little textual discovery I made, for example... a tidbit in Nabokov's Lolita... that I have been trying to introduce as a topic of discussion since c. 1998, online... with only one (at The Guardian's threads) taker in all those years! And it finally hit me, maybe five years ago, that the problem was simply that nobody discussing the book had actually read it all the way through. And how naive was I to assume they had?

The "writing" was on the wall when TV-junkie Remnick took over the New Yorker and actually crowed about TV's (shitty) triumph. Is the New Yorker anything much more than anti-Russkie/ Trump propaganda now? Is publishing anymore concerned with the nurturing of Great Texts? Can anyone really read Harold Brodkey on an i-phone? Is YA the best we can do? Are the writers' Identity Stats all that really matter...?

Was genuine Lit Blogging ever really anything but what it is now: a last-ditch, Farenheit 451-like preparation to save what's left of Lit by going underground with it...?

Welcome, Blogger, to your noble and obscure destiny...!

(i.e.: some of us ain't going *any*where)

*And I don't mean via Lulu

Dan Green

"Was genuine Lit Blogging ever really anything but what it is now: a last-ditch, Farenheit 451-like preparation to save what's left of Lit by going underground with it...?" In retrospect, that's probably what it was, although I do still confess I (perhaps foolishly) held out hope for quite a while that litblogging might establish itself above ground, located somewhere between literary journalism and academic criticism, both of which were, and are still, abandoning literary criticism to pursue other agendas.

steven augustine

"I (perhaps foolishly) held out hope for quite a while"

Oh, yes, indeed. I thought, for the longest time, that a Revolutionary Door had been kicked open... and, in a way, it had. But the door didn't really lead to anywhere outside of the house...

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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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