Literary Nonfiction. Essays. In EXPERIMENTAL LITERATURE: A COLLECTION OF STATEMENTS thirty-four writers and critics reflect upon how literature puts itself to the test in an effort to make itself new. Those reflections assume very different shapes, and each approaches the question from a different angle. There are formalist readings here, and historicist readings; some contributors consider the politics of literature, others focus upon aesthetics; some statements deal with national traditions or periods, others are more synchronist. There are pieces on French theater, the Russian avant-garde, and performance in West Africa. There are meditations on poetry as a daily practice, on experiment as a way of knowing, on the restlessness of liminal spaces, and on the incommensurate dimensions of dream and reality. Each contribution is fueled by the notion that literature works best when it is willing to interrogate its own premises. Both individually and collectively, these analyses display an extraordinary mobility, one that does justice to the dynamism of experimental literature itself. Each essay engages its readers actively and thoughtfully, inviting us to participate in a conversation about literature's horizon of possibility, about what literature is and can be. Robert Coover, arguably the most distinguished living American experimentalist, contributes an afterword to this volume.
Jeffrey R. Di Leo is Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences and Professor of English and Philosophy at the University of Houston-Victoria. He is editor and publisher of American Book Review, and the founder and editor of symplokē. His books include Fiction's Present: Situating Contemporary Narrative Innovation (2008, with R. M. Berry), Federman's Fictions: Innovation, Theory, and the Holocaust (2011), Turning the Page: Book Culture in the Digital Age (2014), Criticism after Critique: Aesthetics, Literature, and the Political (2014), Dead Theory: Derrida, Death, and the Afterlife of Theory (2015), Higher Education under Late Capitalism: Identity, Conduct, and the Neoliberal Condition (2016), American Literature as World Literature (2017), and the Bloomsbury Handbook of Literary and Cultural Theory (2018).
Warren Motte is College Professor of Distinction at the University of Colorado Boulder. He specializes in contemporary French literature, with particular focus upon experimentalist works that put accepted notions of literary form into question. His most recent books include Fables of the Novel: French Fiction since 1990 (2003), Fiction Now: The French Novel in the Twenty-First Century (2008), Mirror Gazing (2014), and French Fiction Today (2017).
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