Some of the hottest writers of the 90’s shared a subversive aesthetic sensibility, “avant-pop,” that drew on the forms, images, slogans, characters, and narrative archetypes of our multidimensional, information-dense culture—cartoons, films, music videos, advertising, and rock music—to explore and critically examine that culture.
Each of these thirty-two works delves into the deeper metaphorical implications of this pop cultural imagery to convey a turn toward overstimulation and hyper-consumption in American life, and to explore issues of personality and identity. This provocative, stylistically experimental work is truly literature for the twenty-first century.
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Since the '60s, a number of authors have rejected the elitism of the avant-garde while still seeking to write experimental fiction. By substituting popular culture references for the standard academic list of canonical sources, they have forged a new fiction that is increasingly being called "avant-pop." This volume collects short fictions by a number of contemporary practitioners of the form, such as William T. Vollman, Ben Marcus, and Paul Auster, as well as works by authors who first made their mark 20 or 30 years ago, such as Robert Coover, Tom Robbins, and Don Delilo. Many fun, challenging stories are collected here in an interesting attempt at delimiting a movement.From Publishers Weekly:
The works collected in this anthology emerge from discussions of life and art in which discourse would be inconceivable without the prefix "hyper": hyperconsumption, hyperreality, hypertext. According to McCaffery (Storming the Reality Studio), Avant-Pop makes sense of the late-20th century mediascape through collage, improvisation and the "information-dense feel of advertising." What sets Avant-Pop apart from plain Pop, says McCaffery, is its practitioners' willingness to go beyond neutral presentation of the raw materials of pop culture to a more active transformation. The contributors vary widely from Steve Erickson, Don DeLillo, Paul Auster, Ron Sukenick, Rikki Ducornet, Euridice, Lynne Tillman (the last three equalling three fifths of the feminine representation in this collection of 32), SF writers William Gibson and Bruce Sterling and many cross-disciplinary artists like Guillermo Gomez-Pe?a. It's an uneven collection that seems to be bound together by narrative velocity, yet the most memorable work is notable for its stillness: Ben Marcus's poetic and movingly familiar guidebook to an alternate world, "False Water Society." This may be the first literary anthology that would have been significantly improved by a multimedia format encompassing moving images, hypertext and the many musical influences McCaffery cites as examples of Avant-Pop from Carl Stallings to Nirvana.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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