Monday, March 12, 2012

A Tangled Mesh of Modernists

"We all know about the evils of money and the virtues of the affluent society, though we sometimes forget that these are contradictory ideas. And we are familiar with the long cultural tradition exposing the corruption of industrial society. What I want to comment on here is simply the way the power of money recently has tended to break down old literary traditions and standards and to stunt the growth of the more or less homogenous and educated audience that is necessary—or at least used to be thought necessary—to the continuity of literature.


The three main trends of our time, or at least the three that have excited most of the critical arguments, might be said to be academicism, commercialism, and extremism. (I almost added a fourth: awardism, the endless pursuit of awards, prizes, and grants and the constant hopping from one writers’ conference to another…"

-- William Phillips. “The Literary Situation” in The Little Magazine and Contemporary Literature: A Symposium Held at The Library of Congress, 2 and 3 April 1965. 

“A work printed in the literary magazine has only two destinations: the book or oblivion.”

-- Karl Shapiro

Quoted in Edric Mesmer's fascinating essay, "To Anthologize the Now Perpetually: The Literary Situation of the Small Press and the Archive" at Cordite Poetry Review; a companion piece can be found here.

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מבול said...
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