The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative by Mark McGurl

By Mark McGurl

Within the application period, Mark McGurl bargains a primary reinterpretation of postwar American fiction, announcing that it may be accurately understood purely with regards to the increase of mass larger schooling and the inventive writing software. McGurl asks either how the patronage of the college has reorganized American literature and—even extra important—how the expanding intimacy of writing and education might be dropped at undergo on a analyzing of this literature. McGurl argues that faraway from occasioning a decline within the caliber or curiosity of yankee writing, the increase of the inventive writing software has as a substitute generated a posh and evolving constellation of aesthetic difficulties which were explored with power and from time to time brilliance by way of authors starting from Flannery O’Connor to Vladimir Nabokov, Philip Roth, Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, and Toni Morrison. via transformative readings of those and plenty of different writers, this system period turns into a meditation on systematic creativity—an concept that until eventually lately might have appeared a contradiction in phrases, yet which in our time has develop into critical to cultural construction either inside of and past the collage. an enticing and stylishly written exam of an period we suggestion we knew, this system period might be on the heart of debates approximately postwar literature and tradition for future years. (20090418)

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We can flesh out these terms with the more overtly ideological values with which they have often been associated, and we can furthermore attach them to the cognitive faculties which they typically assume will be brought to bear in the act of writing. To write “from experience” is either to plumb the depths of memory or to engage in quasi-journalistic reportage; in either case the fiction so created will (in theory) have the ring of authenticity. To be “creative” in one’s writing is, by contrast, to imagine the world anew, “improving” upon experience so that it makes for a good story, part of whose excitement will stem from the sense that “anything can happen” in the freedom of fictional worlds.

Why do universities let us writers in? ’”57 In this way creative writers are somewhat like elite academic researchers in other disciplines, who are good teachers (when they are good teachers) almost by accident. For all the lip serÂ�vice paid to the nobility of teaching, an artist or a scholar (or better yet, “thinker”) is a much more revered being than a teacher, and it is hard to fault the wish to be the one more than the other, if possible. The former represent the essence of professional autonomy and cultural authority, while the social position of the schoolteacher, like all feminized labor, tends toward low-Â�paid subjugation to societal need.

Carver felt it had to be ‘ground,’ and he felt it was worth the trouble of talking it through. ”36 The idea is that stories, prose though they may be, and preferably (for a writer like Carver) grounded in evÂ�eryday speech, should nonetheless be constructed with the same precision and subtlety as the Metaphysical poem, with evÂ�ery word weighed and meaÂ�sured and balanced for meaning and Â�effect. 22 Introduction: Halls of Mirror EXPERIENCE C R E AT I V I T Y authenticity memory, observation “write what you know” freedom imagination, fantasy “find your voice” CRAFT tradition revision, concentration “show don’t tell” Here I fill out the abstract model of the autopoetic proÂ�cess as the Program Era has understood it, adding the all-important value of craft and its associated elements to the values of personal experience and creativity.

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