Wayne B. Stengel
Bio: Wayne B. Stengel is an academic researcher. The author has contributed to research in topic(s): Magic (paranormal). The author has an hindex of 1, co-authored 1 publication(s) receiving 1 citation(s).
Topics: Magic (paranormal)
TL;DR: Coover's Pricksongs and Descants (1969) is a short story collection that attempts to destroy the myths of contemporary literature and to examine the very nature of the writing process as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: OBERT coover's Pricksongs and Descants (1969) is not only a »superb short story collection but a work that attempts to destroy the myths of contemporary literature and to examine the very nature of the writing process. Despite lavish talents, Coover has been a neglected figure on the American literary scene because his prose consistently investigates the conflicts that beset modernist writing as well as the act of composing that produces them. Frequently regarded as a precocious metafictionist, a lesser Barth or Pynchon, whose prose puzzles recall experimental American writing of the late sixties at its most synthetic, Coover is actually a highly poetic, extremely sophisticated prose philosopher whose fictions have always questioned the self-reflexivity of the American metafictionist movement. He has much in common with the anti-mythological writer that Roland Barthes sought in his 1957 essay "Myth Today," the one who would produce what Barthes calls writing degree zero, language that assiduously attempts to extract all its false, mythic content.1 In paralleling Barthes' program, Coover's stories attain a sparsity, purity, and elegance that signifies far more than Coover's declaration of his own presence in the text. Rather, these stories reflect the presence of a tough-minded yet supple intelligence in their analyses of many myths, including what Barthes considers one of the most dubious myths of literature: the literary mythos itself, the belief that literature must exclusively concern itself with the dissemination of ideas or feeling,
30 Nov 1995
TL;DR: This paper read Robert Coover's novel Pricksongs and Descants as an instance of the interchange between mimetic representation and literary self-reflexivity characteristic of postmodern novelists such as Vladimir Nabokov or John Barth.
Abstract: This essay reads Robert Coover's novel Pricksongs and Descants as an instance of the interchange between mimetic representation and literary self-reflexivity characteristic of postmodern novelists such as Vladimir Nabokov or John Barth. It analyses some of the short stories collected in this volume as examples of Coover's ongoing concern with the interchange between (1) our perception of the real, (2) the systems of thought by means of which we account for the flux of reality, and (3) the epistemological nature and function of literature as a vehicle for modern self-understanding. The result is not only a (literary) experiment in which the structures of the traditional, linear novel are relentlessly questioned, but also an inquiry into the possibility of tracing a clear-cut distinction between fiction and reality and, subsequently, between art and life.