Sunday, June 01, 2014

The Self and its Sources Revisited

For those who have availed themselves of the Self and its Sources audio materials posted on this blog, the June 2014 edition of The Atlantic has an interesting essay by William Deresiewicz entitled "How the Novel made the Modern World". This piece reviews two recent scholarly books on the novel. Considering that Gil Bailie's 'reflections on the art of the novel' were done over 20 years ago it is intriguing to read echoes of his analysis in this essay.

It also includes this humorous critique of academic prose:
Buell (the author of one of the books under consideration), whose careful terror seems to be the possibility of saying something politically incorrect—the book does so much posturing, you think it’s going to throw its back out—appears to have absorbed every piety in the contemporary critical hymnal. You can see him fairly bowing to them in his introduction, as if by way of ritual preparation. There they are, propitiated one by one—Ethnicity, Globalism, Anti-Canonicity, Anti-Essentialism—like idols in the corners of a temple.

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