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Transgressions: The Iowa Anthology of Innovative Fiction

Hussmann, Mary, Montgomery, Lee

2 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0877454744 / ISBN 13: 9780877454748
Published by Univ of Iowa Pr, 1994
Used Condition: Good
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Transgressions: The Iowa Anthology of ...

Publisher: Univ of Iowa Pr

Publication Date: 1994

Book Condition:Good

Edition: 0th Edition.

About this title


Thirty years ago, American literature was turned on its ear by a band of young writers whose work challenged the essence of the fictional narrative itself. The social mayhem of the sixties and seventies inspired a new wave of work variously known as postmodern, irrealist, metafictional, or experimental. Suddenly, American fiction goaded and shocked audiences with self-referential tactics and other extremes in form and genre. This was the height of the antistory, when plot and punctuation were often thrown to the wind as writers emphasized disorder over order, style over content, and nonnarrative over narrative formulations. Fictional settings grew equally uncertain, and characters had disembodied voices or no voice at all. It was an outrageous, controversial time when a nation and its literature exploded and raised questions not only about the past of fiction but about its future.
Transgressions: The Iowa Anthology of Innovative Fiction, selected and edited by past and present editors of the Iowa Review picks up where the sixties and seventies left off, presenting work by masters of the "experimental" movement as well as debuting young writers who find new ways to offer nontraditional forms. William Gass, one of the nation's most notable writers of both fiction and literary-philosophical essays, contributes the foreword and a story to this volume.

From Kirkus Reviews:

This anthology of recent experimental fiction selected by past and present editors of the Iowa Review is a mixed bag containing many a chuckle, an occasional yawn, and perhaps half a dozen true revelations. Experimental prose, William Gass reminds us in a helpful and entertaining foreword, is often motivated by a ``profound desire to be anywhere else, anywhere that hasn't Aunt Em, anywhere not over that sentimental rainbow.'' This desire makes itself strongly felt in a number of these ventures, whether through the tongue-in-cheek humor of Ronald Sukenick's erotica--whose every obscene act is easily conveyed even though half the story's words have been omitted; the wry fantasy of Laura Gerrity's story of a woman who can transform her lovers into circus animals; or the joyful and sly celebration of leisure time that informs John Barth's day in the life of a vacationing married couple. Sometimes, it's the characters themselves who long for escape--most notably the silent, bespectacled boy who must bear his athlete father's vain attempts at playing paterfamilias in a monologue by David Foster Wallace. Elsewhere, the literary intent appears less escapist than explosive--whether the tinder is words (Raymond Federman and George Chambers's surreal fable hidden within the prosaic conversation of a pair of bums) or assumptions of human decency (Cris Mazza's account of a woman's repeated rape by two colleagues). A few entries fall flat--notably Kathy Acker's bewildering account of the origin of prostitution and the end of the world, Susan Daitch's epistolary tale of a woman who believes, inexplicably, that a ghost inhabits her house, and Ben Marcus's murky evocation of a world in which sun and grass are the enemy of mankind. Nevertheless, the cumulative effect of the collection is invigorating and should bring recognition to some lesser-known writers whose originality deserves applause. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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