Download The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age by Kathleen Fitzpatrick PDF

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By Kathleen Fitzpatrick

It nearly is going with out announcing that the increase in approval for tv has killed the viewers for "serious" literature. this can be any such provided that analyzing Fitzpatrick's problem to this inspiration may be very disconcerting, as she lines the ways that a small cadre of writers of "serious" literature--DeLillo, Pynchon, and Franzen, for instance--have propagated this fantasy which will set themselves up because the final bastions of fine writing. Fitzpatrick first explores even if critical literature was once ever as all-pervasive as critics of the tv tradition declare after which asks the most obvious query: what, or who, precisely, are those men protecting stable writing against?

Fitzpatrick examines the ways that the anxiousness concerning the intended dying of the unconventional is outfitted on a fantasy of the novel's previous ubiquity and its current displacement by way of tv. She explores the ways that this delusion performs out in and round modern fiction and the way it serves as one of those unacknowledged discourse approximately race, category, and gender. The statement constructs a minority prestige for the "white male author" who wishes preserving from television's mostly lady and more and more non-white viewers. the radical, then, is reworked from a prime technique of conversation into an old, nearly forgotten, and therefore, precious shape reserved for the well-educated and well-to-do, and the lads who perform it are exalted because the practitioners of a nearly misplaced art.

Such positioning serves to extra marginalize ladies writers and writers of colour since it makes the unconventional, by way of definition, the protect of the negative endangered white guy. If the unconventional is just a made of a small workforce of white males, how can the contributions of girls and writers of colour be famous? as a substitute, this positioning abandons ladies and folks of colour to tv as an inventive outlet, and in go back, cedes tv to them. Fitzpatrick argues that there's a degree of unrecognized patronization in assuming that tv serves no function yet to supply dumb leisure to bored ladies and others too silly to appreciate novels. And, as a substitute, she demonstrates the true optimistic results of a televisual tradition.

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Similarly, many of the concerns about the new form’s status as art focused on the photograph’s mechanical origin, equating the work it produced with the products of the factory or the assembly line. This discourse inevitably reveals underlying anxieties about class and gender: “Photography’s frequent figuration as mechanical work and its association with menial labor were obviously in part the consequence of anxiety about the wide social range of photographers and no doubt contributed to its metaphoric evolution as a product of science rather than art between the mid and late nineteenth century” (42).

13 The novelist, by this logic, seems to face a difficult decision between being a marginalized cultural figure and contributing to the novel’s marginality, a double-edged choice rendered particularly remarkable given Doctorow’s own relationship with film. Thus, writers and critics from across the ideological spectrum have suggested for decades that the novel is declining, has declined, should be laid to rest, is in need of revival, or some combination thereof. Some of those Three Discourses on the Age of Television | 23 concerned about the novel’s obsolescence blame the rise of poststructuralist theory; some blame overproduction; some blame the changing technological climate.

S. culture. As these complaints would have it, the television set itself is a machine that distances us from humanity, encouraging us to think of ourselves as machines; the televisual product is a spectacle, distracting us from the “real”; the television broadcasting system is a network of one-way connections that destroys our ability to speak back to the sources of power while providing that power with a terrifying means of control and surveillance. But by reading closely, we can uncover in diatribes about the evils of television the attempt to protect an elite and elitist culture from the incursion of the viewing masses; the true terror of television for many of these writers is not the screen or the content, but the boobs who watch it.

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