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Title: A case of shifting boundaries. A review of The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature
Authors: Aquilina, Mario
Keywords: Books -- Reviews
Literature, Experimental -- History and criticism
Modernism (Literature)
Avant-garde (Aesthetics)
Mass media and literature
Discourse analysis, Literary
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti
Citation: Aquilina, M. (2014). A case of shifting boundaries. A review of The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature. Word and Text: A Journal of Literary Studies and Linguistics, 4(1),179-182.
Abstract: The sheer size of The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature is not only indicative of the breadth and scope that the thirty-seven essay volume aspires to, but also of the wide applicability of the term ‘experimental’ in discussions of literature. The elasticity of the term, and perhaps the occasional fuzziness with which it is employed, are tangible in a volume that brings together, for instance, discussions of Martin Amis, Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka and Thomas Pynchon with others of Kathy Acker, Robert Coover, Neil Hennessey, Jhave, Brian Kim Stefans, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and OuLiPo. The term ‘experimental’, it would seem, can be used to describe works which have been canonized and institutionalized in countless university courses around the world, such as the work of Kafka – often considered paradigmatic of Modernity – as well as to others defined precisely by their resistance to canonization and institutionalization, what Steve Tomasula describes as “underground activity, hidden in plain view”. 1 Indeed, the essays in this volume suggest a seemingly ineluctable paradox. As Brian McHale argues, “Genuine experimentation [...] should be incompatible with popular success, as it should be with elevation to the scholarly or pedagogical canon.”2 Thus, how is a canon of experimental literature worthy of analysis and sustained criticism in a volume like this to be established when experimentation may be indifferent or even antithetical to humanist notions of aesthetic value and popularity?
ISSN: 20699271
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacArtEng

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