“Tear Him for His Bad Verses”: PEN, Charlie Hebdo, and the Cosmopolitical Writer in Bad Faith

[The following is more of a collage than an argument, strictly speaking, so please feel free to fill in some of the gaps with your own imagination. For a quality argument on the topic, see here.] Teju Cole: I’m a free-speech fundamentalist, but I don’t think it’s a good use of our headspace or moral commitments to lionize … Continue reading “Tear Him for His Bad Verses”: PEN, Charlie Hebdo, and the Cosmopolitical Writer in Bad Faith

Notes Toward a Manifesto on Modern Fiction

Charles Finch (via): In other words, here we are: smack in the middle of the second dominant style of the novel in our century. The first, beginning in the late 1990s, produced what was sometimes called "the information novel" or, pejoratively, "hysterical realism," and its dizzy energy suited the frenzied, glossy, techy turn of the … Continue reading Notes Toward a Manifesto on Modern Fiction

Penitential Realism?

It's been almost fourteen years since James Wood warned us about "hysterical realism," presumably the major novelistic mode of the late twentieth century.  According to Wood, it is a mode devoted to information, coincidence, captial-P Politics, various forms of irrealism (caricature, fantasy, metafiction), and a breathlessness of tone: Rushdie, DeLillo, Pynchon, Wallace, etc. We're well … Continue reading Penitential Realism?