vendredi, mars 09, 2007

what should fiction do?

what should fiction do?

Lance Olsen says:
In The Middle Mind, Curtis White maintains that the narratives generated and sustained by the American political system, entertainment industry, and academic trade have taught us over the last half century how not to think for ourselves. Essentially, those narratives shun complexity and challenge; avoid texts that demand attentive, self-conscious, and self-critical reading; and embrace The Middle Mind’s thoughtless impulse toward the status quo. In a phrase, what we are left with is the death or at least the dying of what I think of as the Difficult Imagination. What writers can do is attempt to revive that Difficult Imagination by exploring various strategies that call attention to, reflect upon, and disrupt the assumptions behind conventional narratives, thereby challenging the dominant cultures that would like to see such narratives told and retold until they begin to pass for truths about the human condition. “Our satisfaction with the completeness of plot,” Fredric Jameson once noted, is “a kind of satisfaction with society as well,” and I would add much the same is the case with our satisfaction with undemanding style, character, subject matter, and so forth. My orientation, then, rhymes fairly closely with those posed by Viktor Shklovsky for art and Martin Heidegger for philosophy: the return through complication and challenge (not predictability and ease) to perception and thought.

brian evenson says:
I don’t think that writing should be doing anything in particular, but I do think it should be “doing.” It’s easy for writing to slip into old tired patterns where it doesn’t have to “do”, where it’s follow the same groove in the same record, where it’s covering the same tired ground, where it’s one of the millions of cars on the same superhighway, inching along with everyone else. How much better if the writing is traveling down disused back roads getting knocked by branches and trying to make it around places where the road has been washed out. Or threading itself thinly down an animal track. Or hacking its way deep into the thicket of being without having decided in advance what it’ll find there. The more effort, the better….


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