12 February 2013

The Theory Generation

I know I've been seriously neglecting this blog, and I am on the verge of resolving to be better about that (I've been too busy to resolve to yet, but I will, I will), but meanwhile, here is a really fascinating piece on contemporary writing:


The author posits that there is a wave of writers of recent fiction who came up in liberal arts schools when the Theory craze was just getting off the ground (or was already entrenched) and that this is increasingly being reflected in their fiction, not on the level of form (the way it was for awhile with authors like Robbes-Grillet) but as content; characters explicitly citing Barthes' Lover's Discourse when talking about love, etc. It's definitely something I've noticed (and been alternately enthralled, bemused, and annoyed by), and I think this is a really interesting and multi-layered analysis of it, laden with insightful questions ("why such a low-stakes portrayal of what a humanities education gives you?" asks the author, making me think about the increasing devaluation of a humanities education) and
intriguing observations ("Theory, it turns out, is less intellectually powerful than emotionally useful"). Well worth a read.

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