The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing
In The Program Era, Mark McGurl offers a fundamental reinterpretation of postwar American fiction, asserting that it can be properly understood only in relation to the rise of mass higher education and the creative writing program. McGurl asks both how the patronage of the university has reorganized American literature and—even more important—how the increasing intimacy of
I got about a hundred pages in before someone else at the Mutlnomah County Library put it on hold. Then I put it on hold, and this unknown reader and I would volley it back and fourth over the space of a few months before I finally finished it....more
I'll come back to that.
Mark McGurl's The Program Era might be as important for what it gets right as for what it occasionally gets wrong.
Mark McGurl's The Program Era is perhaps the most important book of The Program Era, an essential text in the newly energized field we might call "creative writing studies," after Graeme Harper and Jeri Kroll's Creative Writing Studies: Practice, Research, and Pedagogy (Multilingual Matters, 2007). And writte...more
This book is authoritative and wide ranging (though the cost of that is a book that's longer than is necessary). What I liked most about it were the many moments when McGurl o...more
For instance, readers may find it illuminating to discover that the trinity of nostrums: 'Write what you know' ; 'Find your voice'; and 'Show don't tell' are the watchwords of writing program tutelage.
"There's much food for thought in what McGurl has to say about literary trends. Most, interesting, though, is his sensitive exploration of the interplay between individual writers and the Creative Writing programs...Opinionated and lively...He delivers a cornucopia of exciting new ideas and insights in a work which will be indispensable reading for teachers and students of creative writing, and for anyone interested in modern fiction...[A:] complex, energetic...more