Nov 202010

I am deep in Packet Fever and not likely to say anything sensible, but I can still lob a provocative piece into the NC mix now and then. I follow The Existence Machine because I enjoy its gentle thoughtfulness. Also it takes some of its direction from reading Gabriel Josipovici whose book about the Bible I am reading right now (er, not right now because of those packets). In this snippet of quotation, the speaker is talking about a collection of contemporary European fiction recently edited for Dalkey Archive Press and contrasting those fictions with recent American fiction.


Q. What was the biggest surprise for you, editing the collection?

A. It was less of a surprise than a reminder: how unabashedly comfortable many of the writers are to engage with literary forms that would be perceived as experimental or avant-garde here. In turn, I was reminded how deeply conservative contemporary American literature is in terms of form. And that conservative bent is a recent development, I believe. The European form flexibility is not a consequence of some snotty, elitist aesthetic but rather of the fact that there are many stories to be told and many traditions to draw from.

via The Existence Machine: Modernism against Modernity.

  One Response to “The Existence Machine: Modernism against Modernity”

  1. By a nice coincidence, I have been rereading books that mattered to me a long time ago, two of them by Germans. Last month, Heinrich Boll’s Group Portrait with Lady, perhaps at the top of my list. Now I’m reading Grass, The Tin Drum. Such warmth, such humanity, such breadth, such reach, such invention.

    Court, if you’re there — these are books I should have mentioned in my politics and literature post.

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