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Literature, it fails us now - A Shout Out to My Pepys [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
The American Caliban

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Literature, it fails us now [Sep. 25th, 2010|11:37 pm]
The American Caliban
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Dale Peck body-slams cheap, decayed postmodernism:

...But as I puzzled my way through this and the rest of Moody's books, I found myself looking not for the place in their execution or conception where they went wrong, but rather for something even prior and more primary: the wrong turn in our culture that led to Moody's status as one of the anointed ones of his — okay, our — generation. In my view, the wrong turn starts around the time Stephen Dedalus goes to college in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and echoes all the way through Don DeLillo's ponderously self-important rendering of Bobby Thompson's shot heard round the world in the opening chapter of Underworld. Moody's badness is a little less inexplicable if you look at him as the lowest common denominator of a generation of writers — and readers: they, too, bear some responsibility for the condition of fiction — who have long since forgotten what the modernist and postmodernist assaults on linearity were actually about, and as such have lost the ability to tell the difference between ambiguity and inscrutability, ambition and bombast; of writers who are taken at face value when they are being ironic and who are deemed ironic when they are telling it straight — assuming, of course, that they themselves know the difference. Assuming, I should add, that they actually have a subject.

He's right even about writers I like.

[User Picture]From: purejuice
2010-09-26 10:38 am (UTC)
oh, give it to 'em! and, so right about joyce.
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[User Picture]From: rpkrajewski
2010-09-26 02:03 pm (UTC)
I solved this problem by not reading books anymore.
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[User Picture]From: gordonzola
2010-09-26 03:29 pm (UTC)
Dale Peck is awesome!
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From: besskeloid
2010-09-26 05:14 pm (UTC)
Nobody is right about anything.
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[User Picture]From: tim.dreamwidth.org
2010-09-26 05:30 pm (UTC)
"Vote" "For" "McCain"
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[User Picture]From: smallstages
2010-09-26 05:54 pm (UTC)
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: substitute
2010-09-27 08:04 am (UTC)
People who write lazily to genre instead of practicing craft turn out the same in every genre.
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[User Picture]From: capn_jil
2010-09-26 09:21 pm (UTC)
you know what my favorite thing about peopel who hate "postmodernism" or "hysterical realism" or whatever is, is they are usually the people who read the shit out of it. but at least all the hate makes me feel better for failing to understand thomas pynchon.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2010-09-27 08:04 am (UTC)
Well, as I said, I like some of the writers who are slapped around in this piece, but it's still pretty accurate.
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[User Picture]From: capn_jil
2010-09-27 09:14 pm (UTC)
yyyyyyyyyep. i think dale peck is right about the good ones - they are doing what they are doing (which is annoying) to point out problems that are going on with our dumb society.

that said, o don delillo....
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2010-09-27 09:30 pm (UTC)
I loved Libra. He gets Marina's voice SO WELL
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[User Picture]From: kafkateer
2010-09-27 04:31 pm (UTC)

oh man now i feel so dumb about liking underworld

i think probably because i didn't ever go to college and never took literary criticism, i feel like i should listen to people who seem to know what they are talking about. but i've spent ten minutes pondering whether delillo's books are stupid? and i think that yeah, the last one, "falling man" i think it was called--i think that one was pretty dumb. but i am just not seeing why ratner's star or white noise or americana are stupid.

still though now i feel like maybe i just don't know how stupid he really is. ugh, *smart people*, they make me feel so stupid
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2010-09-27 05:55 pm (UTC)

Re: oh man now i feel so dumb about liking underworld

Well, as I said, I think the guy is right about a lot of things even when I like the writers or books involved. I like a few of Delillo's books, I'm a Pynchon lover, and DFW is a huge favorite.

What I don't like is the way this style of writing has progressed (declined) into a gooey mess where words don't matter and the reader ends up wearing the Emperor's dirty laundry. Peck delivers a lot of collateral damage on the way that's unnecessary. But funny.
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[User Picture]From: torgo_x
2010-10-01 11:34 am (UTC)

The Future Is Now

Everyone should watch for my forthcoming DYSTOPIAN?? novel, where the post-anti-hero is Polemarch Sokal von Godwin, from the planet Rhizomonomikon. (Working title: By Love Possessed.)


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