“I don’t start with disorder; I start with the tradition. If you’re not trained in the tradition, then deconstruction means nothing.” On Derrida, Foucault, and the deconstructionist defense of the canon.
“If you ask around, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a really bad novel easily enough. I mean a novel by someone who has spent isolated years writing a book they are convinced is a great work of literature. And when you’re reading it you’ll know it’s bad, and you’ll know what bad truly is.” What makes bad writing so bad? Toby Litt at The Guardian investigates.
The Masters Review has announced Ann and Jeff VanderMeer as the judges for this year’s Fall Fiction Contest. The winning story will receive a $2,000 cash prize as well as publication in the magazine. Go submit, then read Josh Rolnick’s essay for The Millions on ten things he’s learned in over a decade of sending out stories.
Last week, I directed you to a piece in The Atlantic by John Yorke on the substance of stories. His argument: that all stories have one thing in common–their plot. Now, Lincoln Michel at Electric Literature suggests that rather it is all story structure models that have one thing in common–and that thing is bullshit.
In the latest entry in By Heart, the Atlantic series we’ve written about a few times, Ben Marcus (who recently came out with a new book) reflects on the true meaning of the word “Kafkaesque.” Marcus interprets Kafka’s “A Message from the Emperor” as a parable about the difficulty of real human connection. (Related: there’s now a Kafka video game.)