WHEN the current literary system collapses it won't be because of anything I do. Fundamental technological changes in how we receive words will be the cause. I've tried to point out structural flaws in the system-- its inadequacy as the engine and promoter of literature-- which argue for inevitable and necessary collapse.
Right now I'm more interested in what should follow the end of literary empire.
We need a broader definition of American literature more in line with American populism, reconnecting with a literary tradition unique to this land and its people, and vastly different from the literary traditions of France and Britain. We need a literature which reflects the American experience and voice: simple, direct, and large.
In a world filled with phoniness and lies, where many distrust what they read and hear from mainstream media-- and with philosophies like postmodernism which celebrate the lie-- literature needs to present stand-up writers who speak with unflinching honesty. This is how the literary art can recapture its once glorious reputation and standing within the larger society. We're a long way from that point!
I've been collecting ideas about what American lit should look like, at a post called "Reinventing the Canon" at