Literary Movements

Right now I'm reading The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano. The novel circles around a fictional (as far as I know) literary movement termed "visceral realism" and the two founding, or central, members of that movement.

The novel has gotten me thinking about literary movements and artistic camaraderie in general. Do we still have literary movements, have we ever really experienced them in the States? I mean the kind where we all hang out together in coffee shops and bars and talk about literature for hours on end. I guess we had the Beats, and post-modernism, and people really got into writing memoirs in the 1990's. But other than the Beats, who were flush with excitement about 50 years ago, I can't really think of an exciting literary movement that was as much as a long party than anything else. Have I, Blogagaard, missed out on something important here? You have to admit grad school is a pretty poor substitute for being a Beat in the 1950's, or being an ex-pat writer in France in the 1920's. I made good friends in grad school, but we never had the chance to suffer from the illusion we were going to collectively change literature, and thus the world, with our writing. Everything was very tempered, very even keel, which is fine but not too exciting or mind-blowing.

I guess the nature of writing is basically anti-social, until your work is done, anyhow, and you can tip back a few to celebrate. And maybe it's just the fresh dusting of snow outside as I write this on a Sunday morning, suffusing the air in my apartment with the sense of something lost, a sense of movement that may never have been a reality in the first place.

3 comments:

mikey said...

I think we are in the middle of a literary movement right now, but it isn't a good one.

Blogging, self-publishing, the write a novel in a month thing - more people then probably should think they have an audience and some talent for writing.

Lots of books now are being published off popular blogs. So, uh, there you go. Not quite the post-modern movement, but it's what we have right now.

Aaron M. Wilson said...

I think that you were part of a movement. You helped judge a short-short contest a little while a go. I think that the short story and the short-short will be the genre of choice soon. You know, the internet and our ever-shortening attention span.

We just need to show that there is a growing market.

Blogagaard said...

Okay, but none of these movements strike me as really sexy.

But at least literature's still moving, right?

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