Chromos

This may serve as a justification for the disorder
I have allowed to invade my narrative. In order to
preserve the sequence of Garcia's stories, I have
sacrificed my own. It is a good excuse anyway.

imgres.jpgIn the 1940s Filipe Alfau wrote his best-known novel, Chromos; it was published in 1990 and hailed as a prototype for the postmodern novel. Now I thought Tristram Shandy held this honor but I’ll admit that Chromos does benefit from a few of the postmodern tropes. Chromos also suggests the argument between the tenets of the New Criticism and the more modern literary scholarship that might explicate a passage based on what the author had for breakfast that day.

The blurb posted on Amazon is informative and succinct:

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Literary Flip-Flop

The Bookends post in the NYT Book Review Section often poses some interesting questions for the two commentators to reflect on. The current question is a good one:

Which Authors Did You Have to Grow Into?

imgres.jpgLiesl Schillinger offered Ernest Hemingway as the author she disliked at first and later one was “ravished by the writing, and bewildered by my adolescent antipathy.” This is interesting to me because I had quite the opposite reaction to Hemingway: as a youth I was told Hemingway was great so I thought he was great but when I grew up I realized Hemingway (at least in his novels) was highly overrated.

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Meta-Fiction Revisited

metaJulie Proudfoot posted an interesting list of metafiction by female authors on her weblog Proud Foot Words. Rather than just reblog I decided to repost the list and add some additional commentary concerning Meta-Fiction.

First, Julie indicates that Wikipedia defines Metafiction as a form of fiction in which the text—either directly or through the characters within—is ‘aware’ that it is a form of fiction. There’s an interesting problem even in this definition since it implies that the fictional characters are somehow separate from the text of the fiction. Does this make the definition itself meta? If you really want to expand on this theme, I recommend you read almost anything by Raymond Federman but specifically Take It or Leave It (Julie recommends Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds, which of course is one of the classics of metafiction).

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An ice-axe to break the sea frozen inside us

imaginationThe New York Times continues to offer age-old questions that can be answered in as may ways as the wind blows. This week it was Should Literature Be Considered Useful? This, of course, begs the question of whether we should consider this question useful, let alone ask what we mean by literature. I suppose no one would even consider asking if art was useful (a good painting can hide those pesky nail holes left by the not-as-good painting you gave to the Animal Shelter for their annual fund raiser).

Doing a mind dump about literature I know that it generates many jobs—writer, publisher, editor, bookseller, etc.—and has a huge secondary market in the folks that purchase the books, read the books, and study the books in school (not to mention the billions and billions of reading groups on the internet). But what do they say in Bookends?

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