Postmodern fiction faces the following dilemma: the supernatural (God and other channeled media) has retired, leaving us to our own devices of transmission; the natural world (species decimation and climate changes due to global warming) appears chaotic and threatens to overrun boundaries; and the mind (or consciousness; or possibly “liberal subjectivity”) is itself subject to a host of newly-diagnosed dysfunctions, not all responsive to psychopharmaceutical therapy. The fictive response falls into two categories: either formulate a plan with exacting design and stick to it, maniacally; or participate in the inevitable debris and its attendant uncertainties. The result might just as well be called Experimental Fixion.
The reading list for Spring 2009 will include the following:
|Kathy Acker, Rip-Off Red, Girl Detective and The Burning Bombing of America|
|Paul Auster, Travels in the Scriptorium|
|Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler|
|Don DeLillo, The Body Artist|
|William Gibson, Pattern Recognition|
|Harry Mathews, My Life in CIA|
|Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles|
|Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49|
|Gilbert Sorrentino, Aberration of Starlight|
|David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men|
To the extent that fiction is administered singly and in
private—as opposed to film or televisual media—I will be taking note of your
reading progress. Grading will be based on two shorter papers and a final
Last revised on Tuesday, January 20, 2009.
Copyright © 2009 Joseph M. Conte. All Rights Reserved.