Jacob Lawrence, "The Migration of the Negro" #34 (1941)
Jacob Lawrence, The Migration of the Negro No. 34.
The Negro press was also influential in
urging the people to leave the South.
(1941)
Can a Game Be Literature?

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Blogging as Cubism

In my opinion, Kafka's Diaries are where the literary practices we now call "Postmodernism" began.

His notebooks are more complex and interesting than their commonplace title implies. He'd move freely between conventional diary form, sketches for stories, hilarious ink drawings, and complete short works of fiction. As published their editing downplays this heterogeneity. Still they read with a fascinating dreamlike texture.

Their heterogeneity is their "Postmodernism". By bringing multiple orders of narrative into collision, Kafka explored what you might reasonably think of as ontologies of text. Where each order of narrative is its own literary "world", and they bump into each other with unpredictable consequences.

It seems to me that if you take blogging seriously as a space for literary narrative, Kafka's practices are natural signposts. The space encourages you to be arbitrary. You can move with great freedom between diary, fiction, essay, book review, grocery list, or any other formal possibility which suits your thematic purpose from moment to moment. If you group the results you can explore their unexpected interactions.

Think of it as parallax. Modernist parallax was about multiple subjectivities perceiving events within their individually flawed points of view. Postmondernist parallax is about bringing multiple orders of text into relationship.

Analogy with Cubism seems reasonable. The Cubists implied three dimensional objects by juxtaposing multiple two-dimensional planes depicting the object from different points of view. Substitute texts for planes and you're off to the races.

My writing here and in TriadCity frequently explores these ideas. Where individual pieces may be nothing more ambitious than exercises or vignettes, when you bring them into relationship they can turn out to resonate in unexpected ways.

Please have a look at the fiction page for examples. Here's a collection of strong pieces to start with. And, here's the publication history.

Please also check out TriadCity. I believe that textual virtual worlds are an important form of literature. They're particularly good at fulfilling the formal and thematic agendas of Postmodernism. Along with other scholarly fora, The Cambridge Companion to Postmodernism agrees, citing TriadCity as its culminating example of literary Postmodernism. This is further explained here on the SmartMonsters website. There's also a good Wikipedia article on TriadCity.

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