Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shivani's American Fiction in a Dismal State

Anis Shivani wrote the very astute essay, "American Fiction in Dismal State", which originally appeared in the magazine Pleiades. His main idea makes incredible sense. It made my heart beat faster to read it. Why? Because he has put into words all the inchoate thoughts I've had about the state of writing now. Specifically, why is American fiction so obsessed with microcosms, with the largely inconsequential. Write about anything broader, more political, anything that lacks sexual content or personal degradation, and you are likely to be marginalized or ignored entirely.

Just below, read the first paragraph of Shivani's essay and be sure to read the whole essay by clicking here:

"Contemporary American fiction has become cheap counseling to the bereaved bourgeois. Its scope is restricted too much to the trivial domestic sphere. It promotes grief, paralysis, inaction: a determinism for the post-politics society, where ideology has no place. Mired in appreciation of beautiful (or rather prettified) language for its own sake, without connection to ideology – although that is an ideology of its own, and perhaps the most corrosive and debilitating ideology of all – serious fiction writing today has lost any connection with a wide, appreciative readership. There are no more writer-oracles in America, nor even writer-visionaries, or writer-sages. There is only small writing, with small concerns, and small ambitions. Very little fiction today aims for a universal audience: the market segmentation of specific niches of writing forces writers to address discrete audiences, those who already read their particular brand of writing, while great possibilities of disrupting the fixed manners of reading go ignored."
                                                                           -- Anis Shivani, from "American Fiction in Dismal State"

Yes, yes, yes!!!!!! Why do we not hear more about this man's criticism?

No comments:

Post a Comment