What is "Metaliterature"? It is literature about literature, in this case, views, reviews, and thoughts provoked by stuff I've read. I'm hoping this might be a chronicle of the brain of a life-long reader as guided by intertextual coincidence. If you like what you read, read what I like.
Currently domiciled in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Subscribe to this blog
Follow by Email
Search This Blog
From The Centrifuge
As a committed but as yet uncommitted spouter of unqualified opinion, I also try to think about things and then write them down*. Sometimes it spills out in ink, but sometimes it's easier to catch it on the keyboard, supervision at work being slack and free time elsewhere at a premium. So, for those interested, you could try reading what I write at From The Centrifuge, simply by clicking on that link just there. It's not premium material, but after an ammonia wash it can be used as protein filler in chicken nuggets.
Thanks. * Warning - usual disclaimer to follow.** ** Disclaimer - this is a terribly infrequently updated blog, due in equal measures to laziness, time-wasting and technological issues.
Not a review this time, more of a curiosity. It seems I'm receiving lots of hits from Russia (Здравствуйте России!) from people searching for the definition of "metaliterature". As such, it is something of a bespoke word, created to fit a need and probably not yet recognized outside literary theory / criticism circles (Merriam-Webster Online certainly don't like it). I was wondering what they typed in to end up here, so, for fun (it's not fun, sorry) I thought I'd bung it in Google Translate and see what came out. As it turns out, one needs a little hyphen for the rather ponderous machine to understand it, and even then only does half the job (meta seems to be meta in any language). Incidentally, below is, ironically, a Google Chrome Thesaurus definition* of "meta":
met·a Adjective/ˈmetə/ (of a creative work) Referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referentialInterestingly (not interesting, sorry) it says this for the full term, t…
In days gone by, when repeatedly pressed about what my favourite book might be, a banal question seeking an impossible and crude reductionist answer to which I was usually rude in response, I would offer Breakfast Of Champions as a pacifier.
I first read it in University, and it has, to some degree, influenced how I think and feel about a lot of things. Strikingly, I've never wanted to re-read it. Perhaps I was afraid I'd find fault the second time around and wanted to uphold it as a paragon of meta-fiction. Perhaps, but then I'm a relentless consumer of fiction and was always on to the next consumable work, never having time or inclination to go back.
So in the spirit of a more considered and thoughtful phase of my life I decided I wanted to read something that once made me feel good.
I'd clearly not remembered it very well.
But before that, I'm amazed I've gone *mumbles* years without once mentioning Kilgore Trout in my reviews, even in passing. The same goes fo…
There’s a term in Czech, coined to encapsulate Bohumil
Hrabal’s particular headlong rush through sentences and ideas, skipping over
syntax and playing with somewhat surreal juxtaposed ideas and images. In and of
itself it is a beautiful word – Hrabalovština.
According to Adam Thirlwell*, Hrabal preferred the term ‘palavering’ –
talking unnecessarily and at length, or prolonged and tedious fuss or
discussion. I suspect that’s just Hrabal’s way of dismissing his own work with
typical wry modesty. In another of his books, Dancing
Lessons For The Advanced In Age,
this palavering style is taken to the extreme, the author using digression and
repetition to basically write one novel-length sentence. Playful is my preferred
description, and in In-House Weddings,
volume one of three fictionalised biographies** of the writer, you come across multiple
digressive compound conjunctions where you’d expect some stronger punctuation and
the words simply tumble over each other, clause after clause rai…
Having finished within days of each other the two svelte novels Closely Observed Trains and Too Loud A Solitude, two novels which take up positions one and two on my list of favourite European novels of all time, I quickly resolved to pepper the next few months with more Hrabalobština and I purchased with intent to binge I Served The King Of England (superb!), Dancing Lessons For The Advanced in Age, and In-House Weddings, along with this double-header of stand-alone but linked novellas. For whatever reason, twelve years passed between the first of this short list and this last book.
I find it difficult to describe, but much like when I think about the mid-Western novels of Percival Everett, or more recently the two Laird Hunt books Indiana, Indiana and Kind One, I experience a creeping horror and fascination born of a complete disconnect between myself and the characters of the novel, and am subject to a squally sense of pathos which can at any moment send my mood off int…