RARA-AVIS: Re: "The Canon"?

From: jacquesdebierue (jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com)
Date: 01 Mar 2009

  • Next message: Brian Thornton: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: "The Canon"?"

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Gonzalo Baeza" <gbaeza@...> wrote:
    > > Gonzalo, I don't think discussing how narrow and fossilized the canon
    > > is can be equated with an anti-academic slant.
    > I strayed a bit off topic and that must have generated some confusion.
    > I agree that questioning the validity of the canon does not betray an
    > anti-academic slant. What I was alluding to were previous assertions
    > that so-called mainstream fiction is mostly derivative, plot-less and
    > narcissistic (or something along those lines). The generalization
    > strikes me as ironic coming from people (and I don't think you were
    > one of them) who complain about a bias towards genre fiction.

    I kind of went along with that, but I do read a lot of nongenre fiction (if that exists) and especially nonfiction. Superb writers like Barry Lopez and Michael Pollan, for example. I think some the best writing today goes into nonfiction. Writers who perhaps in an earlier era would be writing novels. Some, like James Howard Kunstler, alternate between fiction and nonfiction.

    My going along, sort of, with the assertion you mention, had to do with this:in musical terms, a lot of mainstream fiction doesn't swing. At least I don't hear it swing. Mysteriously, Franzen's mammoth book
    _The Corrections_ started swinging right away for me. I got a steady pulse and it grabbed me. Many other novels I try do not do that. And when that happens, no amount of sympathy or trying will bring the thing alive. Just a personal anecdote, no general theories about what's good, etc. Minimum requirement: don't bore me.



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