Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Death Of ___ " as Sign of Life

Tin House interview with Walter Kirn in which he asserts that "____ is dead" debates indicate vitality  (contrast with Sam Sacks's swipe at "the death of literature" essay as discussed in previous post):

Are books and literature in a state of crisis these days?.... 

"I certainly hope they’re in a state of crisis. The moment they’re not, they’ll probably cease to matter much. Maintaining a state of crisis around matters that many people might considered settled – What is it to be a person? What is it to tell a story? – is the first job of literary art. Nothing keeps the novel livelier and more relevant than those ceaseless “Is the novel dead?” essays, for example. The markets live by the competition of fear and greed, they say, and literature lives by the struggle between hope and despair over certain fundamental concerns such as whether life can be fruitfully represented at all. Crisis and criticism go hand in hand…" 

Not totally convinced by this (sometimes proclamations of moribundness point to actual states of incontrovertible and irreversible decline) . But certainly the idea of  a relationship between criticism and crisis fits my own bi-polar relationship with pop history and pop temporality -- rush followed by crash, speed giving way to slowdown, phases of unilinear surge  alternating with phases of directionless stagnation. 

No comments:

Post a Comment