My livelihood depends on fiction. To this end I have published a book arguing for the importance of literature in life. I have posted personal blogs that combine internal reflection with cultural commentary. In short, I see the absolute importance of narrative in life and work. Yet, I also realize that stories can get in the way of understanding life.
I got a new lesson on the force of narrative during the blackout that affected much of the mid-west and east coast in early July. It was the third time our own neighborhood had experienced an extended power outage in four years. This time, however, the temperatures soared to the 100F mark for eight powerless days.
Why are we more excited by Facebook than by Google? I thought about this question a couple of weeks ago when the media ran stories about the rivalry between these two corporations.
If you're in New York and seeing You can't get there from here but you can get here from there, the show that Claire Bowen described in a recent post, you should also try to see another astonishing union of literary work and vivid display in the the seven hour production of Gatz at the Public Theater
This is a response to Joshua Landy’s post “What’s wrong with narrative?” I'm coming late to this discussion; more to the point, I'm an art historian, and not a scholar of literature, and therefore am familiar with a different range of critical writing than some of you. I'm also a Sinologist and not a scholar of Western culture.
A recent talk by my colleague Joshua Landy on "Still Life in a Narrative Age: Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation," and the comments on my most recent blog "Against Narrative" made me cruelly aware of a divide between on the one hand the perception of what Josh and myself see as the creeping dominance of narrative models to think about life, but also, by extension, to experience it.
Babies are usually the stuff of private life, clichés, and endearing memories that we check out as we set foot on campus grounds. Yet babies are the greatest--and arguably the cutest--hermeneutic subjects.
I should put my cards on the table and confess that I am not a cervantista, a specialist in Cervantes. To some extent, this has to do with my own suspicion that critical commentary on certain texts, like Don Quixote, has become saturated.
What is it about the human (Western?) mind that compels us to think in narratives?