Contemporary Fiction and the Ethics of Modern Culture by J. Karnicky

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By J. Karnicky

This booklet argues for the moral relevancy of up to date fiction at first of the twenty-first century. via interpreting novels by way of such writers as David Foster Wallace, Richard Powers, and Irvine Welsh, this ebook appears at how those works search to remodel the ways in which readers dwell on this planet.

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The window tableaus do not mean anything. They illustrate that reading need have nothing to do with communication. The tableaus remain devoid of meaning, uninterpretable, but they lead the narrator, and perhaps the reader, toward a reconsideration of what it means to read. ” A two-paragraph section of “Killer Whales,” which directly follows the narrator’s first discussion of her neighbor’s window, illustrates her changing thoughts on the function of language, and thus on reading and writing. For a time, the narrator says she thought that “words were like a school of jellyfish with thousands of tentacles streaming below the surface, and some of those tentacles were attached or stuck together below the waves” (10).

Waiting then playing. The incorporeal transformation occurs repeatedly and differently each time as the game progresses; the game is made of the repetition of these singular, unrepeatable moments of incorporeal transformation. Likewise, reading and writing. There’s that one-thousandth of a second when reading and writing are in contact, when eyes meet words, and also when fingers meet keys: the muscle memory of the keyboard’s layout, the unthinking action of the eye scanning the page, the almost automatic movement of the hand turning the page.

It is a process” (1). Writing does not transcribe the writer’s lived experience; a written text does not serve as a touchstone of experience or as a fixed entity that gives an unchanging vantage point from which to understand the world. Writing becomes a process when considered as part of assemblage with reading, an assemblage that is always starting over, not defining but creating something anew, beginning again continually, with no origin or endpoint to rely on. A reader does not simply receive a written text but affirms the text’s existence, and in this affirmation the reader takes the text someplace else, toward the creation of something new.

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