sunnudagur, september 04, 2005


Reading David Perkins's Is Literary History Possible? (Johns Hopkins UP), I find the author noting the poverty of emplotments available for oraganizing events in narrative literary history:

The possible plots for narrative literary history can be reduced to three: rise, decline, and rise and decline. The reason for this is that the hero of a narrative literary history is a logical subject --- a genre, a style, the reputation of an author --- and the plots are limited to what actions or transitions can be predicated of such heroes. They cannot, for example, go on a quest or be tormented in a love triangle.

What a pity!

And imagine if this were not the case. In my mind's eye, I see Ibsen's Reputation as a Playwright engaged in a biting feud with the Deconstructionist Turn. It would be played out in all the papers with an occassional volley from the International Reception of Scandinavian Literature.

And there, the Romantic Poetry riding out in full armor to the rescue of the Late Gothic Novel, imprisoned in a distant tower by Post-War Psychoanalytic Fiction and his co-conspirator, Social Realism. He will be aided, perhaps, by the Debate on the True Authorship of Shakespeare's Plays.

So much potential. And to think that Mr. Perkins answers his own titular question in the negative.

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