Structuring the Void

Structuring the Void

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If, as the literary theorists of postmodernism contend, qcontentq does not exist, then how can fiction continue to be written? Jerome Klinkowitz, himself a veteran practitioner and theorist of fiction, addresses this question in Structuring the Void, an account of what today's novelists and short story writers do when they produce a fictive work. Klinkowitz focuses on the ways in which writers, finding themselves in the same position as abstract painters and death-of-God theologians, have turned their inquiry itself into subject matter, and he shows how this approach has in recent years produced something more than mere metafictive self-questioning. With no subject to structure, the writers Klinkowitz discusses nonetheless persist in the act of structuring. For Kurt Vonnegut, this has meant finding a form for an otherwise unrepresentable world by organizing his autobiography as a narrative device. In the generation following Vonnegut, Max Apple makes a similar move in the ritualization of a national history and popular culture, while Gerald Rosen and Rob Swigart invent a style of literary comedy based on their comic response to a new imaginative state, the state of California. Klinkowitz also considers subjects that, though they cannot be represented, nevertheless exercise constraints on a writer's intention to structure. In recent decades, two of these pressing themes have been gender (as seen here in the works of Grace Paley) and war (the Vietnam conflict itself as well as the struggles of two generations to come to terms with it). Structuring the void left when content collapses, these writers have, as Klinkowitz demonstrates, developed an entirely new style of fiction, one that necessarily privileges space over time and self-invention over representation.In recent decades, two of these pressing themes have been gender (as seen here in the works of Grace Paley) and war (the Vietnam conflict itself as well as the struggles of two generations to come to terms with it).


Title:Structuring the Void
Author: Jerome Klinkowitz
Publisher:Durham : Duke University Press - 1992
ISBN-13:

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