Archive

Nicholas Dames

24 October 2012

This is the odd space these Theory Generation novels inhabit, making them peculiar novels of ideas. Their writers have read enough Theory at a young enough age to be in continued thrall to its power; they do justice to the disorienting shock those texts once had, and perhaps still have. Yet they are old enough to ironize (tenderly or bitterly) that power. More…

13 April 2011

Reflected here was the first paradigm shift in the humanities since the emergence of theory and the culture wars of the preceding two decades. If the question of the ’80s and ’90s was, “What should we be reading, and how?,” the question that dogged the opening years of our new millennium was of a vastly more dismal kind: “Why bother?” More…

Originally published in Issue 11: Dual Power

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A history of cultural pessimism should counsel us to be cautious about our dismay. Take Q. D. Leavis, author of the stern 1932 jeremiad Fiction and the Reading Public, which bemoans over two-hundred years of declining cognitive abilities and standards. Mass literacy, newspapers, and popular fiction were all for Leavis signs of the slow death of attentive reading. More…

14 September 2009

Those of us in commodity-rich, artistically saturated, more or less urbanized Western countries, at the start of the 21st century, know all too well how these games are played. We know it instinctively, so well that the kind of confession of musical taste offered above has become a drearily familiar part of everyday life. We also know it because we know “Bourdieu,” whether we’ve read the man or not. More…

Originally published in Issue 8: Recessional

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