Jacob McArthur Mooney on the accountability of the Canadian avant garde

July 13, 2010 at 2:03 am Leave a comment

Over at Vox Populism, Jacob McArthur Mooney asks some poigniant (if not altogether new) questions of the Canadian avant garde confederacy. Here’s a taste, wherein Jake reiterates a question he asked at the Scream Literary Festival’s annual panel event:

“I was amused by Sampirisi’s image of the “Difficult Texts bin”, a place on the periphery of the mainstream bookstore (and, by extension, mainstream readership) where many avant garde books are relegated, thus presenting an obstacle to their readership. When Bill found my hand in the crowd, I asked Jenny about this bin, and offered the suggestion that while this label might be an obstacle to a wider readership for some texts, for others it might act as a crutch, and even something wilfully pursued by the texts’ authors. The rationale for this question came out of an earlier discussion about understanding and misunderstanding. I feel, as a reader and fan of a lot of avant garde work, that misunderstanding is often enlisted as a defence mechanism to deflect criticism of unliked books. Essentially, if I say that I didn’t understand a text, I’m volunteering the position of failed reader, and therefore negating any negative criticism attached to this perceived failure.”

You can read the entire post here. Make sure to check out the comments section – it’s where things get interesting. 

 

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