Thursday, June 28, 2012

Populism or Postmodernism?

Here’s the opinion of philosopher Georg Lukacs, writing mid-20th century:

“Great realism, therefore, perishes in the era of decay. And besides the overtly apologetic anti-realism and pseudo-realism of the literature promoted by the reactionary bourgeoisie, we have a long train of tendencies that try in a very ‘radical’ and ‘avant-garde’ fashion to liquidate the very foundations of realism.”

Lukacs was for “the unity of democratic tradition in social life and realist tradition in art; the consequence of this unity being a constant striving to give art a popular character, and an unseparable connection with the great problems of national life.”

He could’ve been talking about the situation of American literature today.


Cleo Marie said...

Maybe this trend towards escapism shows that democracy doesn't work.

Why don't regular people demand something better than Random House, HarperCollins, MAcmillan etc. are giving them?

If people were responsible and pro-active about what goes in their heads, these publishers would have changed or died long, long ago.

Maybe we should be talking about the best way to find better kings...

King Wenclas said...

I'd contend that the American public hasn't been given a real choice. All segments of the literary establishment, from writing programs to book critics to big New York-based publications, have dissed and marginalized populist writing. This was the attitude toward the Underground Literary Alliance. Said establishment has instead lauded postmodern authors like Jonathan lethem and Ben Marcus. Yet, despite all the awards and print media attention lavished on the postmodernists, the general public continues to ignore them. See my above post on Marcus.
The current literary system is elitist, undemocratic, and corrupt. It's monopolistic-- not democratic. For those who work for and control the major organs of book publicity, this is exactly the way they want it.
This applies, by the way, even to so-called "Leftist" or "social democratic" literary outfits like n+1. So far, lip service only from them to literary democracy and populism.
Part of the problem is the respect writers and journalists give to big money and power, which can be demonstrated in instance after instance. It's why we had Boris Kachka earlier this year sucking up to a key member of the McSweeney's gang. "The Evil Empire."
It's why I'm completely blackballed by the literary world.
I hope that cronyistic gang, and others, realize that when you give someone nothing to lose, he has no reason to "go with the flow."
Until they lift the blackball on me, I'll be an increasing thorn in the side to them. There's a lot of corruption to expose. I figure there needs to be at least one honest writer out there-- I don't mind fitting that role.

lucy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
King Wenclas said...

Thanks for reading.