Interventive Writing in the “Post-Human” Age
Though not yet fully recognized, Ronald Sukenick’s work has contributed to every aspect of the postmodern scene, from its aesthetic and sociocultural debates, to the development of new discursive practices. His theoretical essays, gathered in two collections, In Form: Digressions on the Act of Fiction (1985) and Narralogues (2000), suggest a cumulative, polemical effort to redefine fiction “as thought and articulation” rather than as “mind-numbing make-believe” (Narralogues 6). Challenging both the mass-market taboo against “thought” in fiction and the prevailing conventions of literary articulation, Sukenick’s essays engage the issues of narration in the oblique, self-questioning way of postmodern theorizing, positing a flexible concept of fiction as a “concrete structure, rather than an allegory, existing in the realm of experience” (In Form 206). Sukenick dissociates this form of revisionist thinking from the “hierophantic complications” of “formal thinking” (4). His emphasis remains on “the way [fiction] is composed rather than on the way it is interpreted” (xix), a fact that further distinguishes this “in-formal” theorizing from “academic theories of reading and interpretation” (xvi). But this separation is itself submitted to revisions that negotiate the poles of cultural theory and narrative practice under a common agenda.
KeywordsImportant Thing Narrative Imagination Conventional Realism Narrative Practice American Popular Culture
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