FIND in
<--prev V304 next-->
From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Generic Considerations
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2003 12:44:14 -0700

Sepia writes:

>I think there are problems with fetishizing the "real" in this 
>sense--reading old anthropology, or even contemporary historical accounts, 
>presents interpretations of reality that are less true in some respects 
>than fiction.  Fiction might provide a better account of subjective 
>experiences than the technical discursive style employed in much 
>non-fictional writing (e.g. attempts to use stream of consciousness writing 
>to "map" the process of thought with more fidelity than journalistic 
>descriptions or historical 'black box' accounts).

...taken to its (logical?) conclusion, this line of thought may
lead us to conclude that _all_ texts are in some important sense
fiction, that "history," "biography," "corporate annual reports,"
"scientific papers," etc., all describe fictive "genres."

In the case of corporate reports, I'll gladly concede the point. 8*)

Well: No text completely or perfectly reflects "reality." The texts
we call nonfiction are perhaps more revealing in the (often relevant)
aspects of "reality" they omit than the ones they include. This is
particularly revelatory of the author's purpose or agenda.

But ... well, I just finished reading the two volumes (so far)
of Morris' biography of Theodore Roosevelt. In what sense is this
"fiction?" It selects details. It speculates, but attempts to make
clear where speculation is taking place. I just don't know.

>Of course, fiction *is* fictional, and usually doesn't purport to be an 
>accurate description of something that has actually happened,

Ummm. Not entirely true ... consider Proust again. Is _Remembrance
of Things Past_ really more fictional than the average text of history
or biography? Why or why not?

>but I don't think that positing the possibility of a one-to-one 
>correspondence with some reality (whether transcendent or immanent) is a 
>good starting point.

A starting point for, uh, what?

>Examining the *function* of discourses might be helpful.

I think this is not entirely alien to my idea that suggestion (in
NYRSF last year, and more than hinted at in this ongoing discussion)
that the most important difference between SF and MF is what the
reader expects.

>  (I don't exactly have a dog in this fight, but I prefer "speculative 
>fiction" as a designation.  I would feel like Terry Eagleton does when he 
>tries to define "literature" were I to attempt to define SF.)

This is why I prefer the term SF. Like MF, it's ambiguous; it
can contain both "science" and "speculative" fiction ... not to
mention San Francisco. 8*)


Help STOP SPAM with the new MSN 8 and get 2 months FREE*  


<--prev V304 next-->