Contemporary Ficition and the Question of World Literature
This week in addition to reading a contemporary short story of your choice, you also read two pieces that advocate for different understandings of contemporary fiction, Zadie Smith′s essay ″In Defense of Fiction″ and Sarah Brouilette′s article ″Neoliberalism and the Demise of the Literary.″ Using the arguments that Smith & Brouilette put forward regarding the debates or issues facing contemporary literary production, I want you to advocate for including the short story you selected within the canon of world literature. You might consider the following questions:
What genre is it?
Who wrote it and why?
What is its historical context?
How does it connect to questions regarding contemporary literature discussed in class or in the Perusall readings?
What made you choose this piece? What does it teach us about the author, history, or life?
Does the story do something new with narrative? With the narrator’s voice?
Does it represent a group, identity, or experience not included in previous course readings?
You don’t have to answer all of these questions, but your journal should address both the substance and the style of your selection and why you think it’s worth adding to the canon of world literature.
Close reading journals are between 250-300 words.