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Literature Against Itself: Literary Ideas in Modern Society
by Gerald Graff
Since its first publication more than fifteen years ago, Literature Against Itself has achieved wide recognition as the first major critique of post-1960s cultural radicalism - and still one of the best. In it Gerald Graff argues that the reigning strategies for defending literature now end up by trivializing it, and he analyzes why and how they have gone wrong. He charges ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Ivan R. Dee Publisher
(first published April 1st 1979)
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For Graff, literature has a social function, and in the context of the growing autonomy—or is it isolation?—of the writer in contemporary culture, he has a negative view of much postwar American fiction. Graff comments on the “mimetic fallacy,” suggesting that the “distortions” in recent fiction may contribute to analogous distortions in social reality rather than merely representing them. At the end of the book there is some detailed discussion of work by Norman Mailer and Donald Barthelme, but ...more