21st Century Literature discussion

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Question of the Week > Are Literary Movements Still A Thing? (7/22/18)

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message 1: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2719 comments Mod
Is the notion of a "literary movement" still relevant? Have there been such movements in the 21st century? Is it too early to tell?


message 2: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2354 comments In a quick Internet search, I found two, which sound a lot like they could be the same thing? First, Transrealism. https://www.theguardian.com/books/boo... and second New Weird, https://www.sacurrent.com/sanantonio/.... I'm not completely convinced by either and think it just may be too soon. What jumped to my mind before finding these two articles was the stuff David Mitchell says he is doing -- mixing genre and using the same characters in different books.


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert | 437 comments Really the king of new weird is jeff vandermeer. He even edited a doorstopper of an anthology about it


message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert | 437 comments China mieville is also a new weird pioneer


message 5: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2160 comments Mod
Weird Fiction is definitely my jam, and I think Vandermeer's anthology is as close to a bible as it gets in tracing the history. I suppose time will tell whether there really is a "New Weird" (or "Weird Renaissance" or "New New Weird"), or just a lot of great writers following in the weird tradition.

For those who want to geek on The Weird, I highly recommend Scott Nicolay's podcast "The Outer Dark", http://scottnicolay.com/the-outer-dark/


message 6: by Robert (new)

Robert | 437 comments Whitney wrote: "Weird Fiction is definitely my jam, and I think Vandermeer's anthology is as close to a bible as it gets in tracing the history. I suppose time will tell whether there really is a "New Weird" (or "..."

Thanks!!!!!


message 7: by Meike (new)

Meike (meikereads) In France, there's a clear trend going on mixing history and sociology with fiction, but in ways that haven't been done before: There are metanarratives, entirely new approaches like the Méthode Vuillard or the application of scientific concepts to disscet one's own life in a Kind of semi-memoir - love that trend. Examples would be Binet, Vuillard, Louis, and Eribon.

There seems to be a longing to both find a more objective approach to subjective notions, and at the same time to point out the limits of social science - this thin line is so, so fascinating!


message 8: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2160 comments Mod
Meike wrote: "In France, there's a clear trend going on mixing history and sociology with fiction, but in ways that haven't been done before: There are metanarratives, entirely new approaches like the Méthode Vu..."

Oh, those wacky French!

I don't entirely grasp this, but it sounds interesting. Has anyone attempted to put a name to this trend? Which works would you recommend as an entry point?


message 9: by Meike (last edited Jul 24, 2018 10:55AM) (new)

Meike (meikereads) Hey, I love the French, and part of me is French! (And if I was American I'd be careful whom to diss for exceeding wacki-/tackiness given the state of the union!)

Binet's HHhH is amazing, and Louis' The End of Eddy is probably the most accessible in the field of sociology.


message 10: by Robert (new)

Robert | 437 comments Whitney wrote: "Meike wrote: "In France, there's a clear trend going on mixing history and sociology with fiction, but in ways that haven't been done before: There are metanarratives, entirely new approaches like ..."

Calvino and Eco were doing those things long before the French :D (just letting my more mischievous side out)


message 11: by Meike (new)

Meike (meikereads) Yes, Eco totally did what Louis and Eribon did, specifically! *sarcasm off* :-)


message 12: by Robert (new)

Robert | 437 comments Meike wrote: "Yes, Eco totally did what Louis and Eribon did, specifically! *sarcasm off* :-)"

You're semi correct :)


message 13: by Meike (last edited Jul 24, 2018 10:54AM) (new)

Meike (meikereads) Ah really? Vuillard as well? Nice try, Robert, next time just read the stuff first! :-)


message 14: by Marc (last edited Jul 27, 2018 01:11PM) (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2719 comments Mod
Binet's HHhH feels distinctly different (to me) than what either Calvino or Eco did. Alas, I can't comment on the other writers mentioned. It seems like arthorial intrusion with a rather accurate, autobiographical slant filled with a creamy academic center.

Would bizarro fiction be a sort of subset of the "New Weird?" Does "fan fiction" rise to the level of being considered some type of "literary movement"?

I never hear about writing groups the way one might have considered the Surrealists, OULIPO, the Algonquin Round Table, etc. But certainly there are interesting collective efforts like The Wu Ming Foundation or the Comité invisible (the latter, writing only nonfiction, I believe).


message 15: by Robert (new)

Robert | 437 comments Well i do notice that MFA students have distinctive style (different viewpoints of one event or overlapping destinies) or is this my impression?


message 16: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2160 comments Mod
Meike wrote: "Hey, I love the French, and part of me is French! (And if I was American I'd be careful whom to diss for exceeding wacki-/tackiness given the state of the union!)

Binet's HHhH is am..."


Hey, I wasn't dissing the French. (And I am the first to say Americans have lost the right to criticize any other country into the foreseeable future.) I was just commenting on the apparent depth and seriousness of what you described. Glad you included HHhH - I've heard of that one!


message 17: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2719 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "Well i do notice that MFA students have distinctive style (different viewpoints of one event or overlapping destinies) or is this my impression?"

There is a kind of criticism of fiction that comes out of writing programs (be they MFAs or writers' workshops). I'm not sure I'd know how to characterize that although I do tend to think of it as New Yorker fiction (which sounds like an insult when I put it like that, but it's not really meant that way).


message 18: by Meike (new)

Meike (meikereads) Whitney wrote: "Glad you included HHhH - I've heard of that one!"

I can really recommend this book, Whitney - Binet is so inventive and smart, I was deeply impressed by his writing and ideas! (Btw, I used to live in the US for a while and have many good friends there - I hope the situation will get better soon for your country!)


message 19: by carissa (new)

carissa I don't know if it's a literary movement, but a lot of books I come across are what I'd call fugly.
Like Ottessa Moshfegh and Chuck Palahniuk.
It is effective writing, but so darn relentless and ugly about human nature. Plus, the writing is straight-forward and simple.
Is this a thing?


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 458 comments carissa wrote: "I don't know if it's a literary movement, but a lot of books I come across are what I'd call fugly.
Like Ottessa Moshfegh and Chuck Palahniuk.
It is effective writing, but so darn relentless and u..."


Ha! Now it's a literary movement in my mind anyway!


message 21: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2719 comments Mod
Fug Lit. Like the opposite of Up-lit!

I know what you mean, Carissa, but I don't have a term or category for it either.


message 22: by Meike (new)

Meike (meikereads) Marc wrote: "Fug Lit. Like the opposite of Up-lit!"

Hahaha, Marc!!! :-)

Carissa, I also know what you mean! My Absolute Darling would probably be another candidate for that genre...


message 23: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2719 comments Mod
In reading a summary of My Absolute Darling and thinking more about Carissa's description and book selections, I'd say these are the type of books that end up being called "Transgressive." That casts a wide net but usually deals with abuse (sexual, psychological, child), drug use, life in the streets or on the run,.. basically, things or activities that put characters on the periphery of "social norms." They're the kind of books that hit you like a punch in the gut. You're drawn to them like a moth to the flame because of their brutal honesty--you might find them amazing, but you can't say you "enjoyed" them. Quite a few authors come to mind: Heather Lewis, A.M. Homes, Bret Easton Ellis, Dennis Cooper, William Burroughs.

Not sure there's anything necessarily 21st century about this, but as social norms become more progressive, art dealing with the darker side of humanity may become more accessible/widespread and may have to dig deeper.


message 24: by Robert (new)

Robert | 437 comments Meike wrote: "Marc wrote: "Fug Lit. Like the opposite of Up-lit!"

Hahaha, Marc!!! :-)

Carissa, I also know what you mean! My Absolute Darling would probably be another candidate for that genre..."


Oh yeah - I agree, in fact Tallent's style of writing is similar to the lit brat pack of the 90's Easton Ellis, Tama Jamowitz, Douglas Coupland and Jay McInnery. And he does have that controversial edge.


message 25: by carissa (new)

carissa Marc wrote: "Fug Lit. Like the opposite of Up-lit!"

yas...It is now coined. A particular category of transgressive lit with unrepentant sociopathic protagonists at their core i Fug Lit. Awesomeness.

I agree with all the other authors mentioned here as transgressive...except maybe Burroughs...he's more experimental to me.


message 26: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2160 comments Mod
carissa wrote: "I agree with all the other authors mentioned here as transgressive...except maybe Burroughs...he's more experimental to me...."

I would argue that his experimental narratives alone would qualify him as transgressive. Throw in unapologetic and explicit drug use and homosexuality, frequently involving young boys, and I would call him the definition of transgressive. Book bannings and celebrated obscenity trials are the cherry on top.


message 27: by carissa (new)

carissa Whitney wrote: "Book bannings and celebrated obscenity trials are the cherry on top."

well, I can't argue with that!


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