DFW, from your link: ‘I think The Simpsons is important art. On the other hand, it’s also—in my opinion—relentlessly corrosive to the soul, and everything is parodied, and everything’s ridiculous. Maybe I’m old, but for my part I can be steeped in about an hour of it, and I sort of have to walk away and look at a flower or something.’
The guy’s fragile sincerity is one of the primary reasons I can’t stand the vast majority of his work, and probably why his attempts at satire and parody fall embarrassingly flat. (The one exception being the first section on Leonard Stecyk in The Pale King. That was brilliant.) I’ll never understand his reputation as a hyperliterary guy.
Have you read his essay on television and fiction? http://jsomers.net/DFW_TV.pdf It kind of situates his opinions on irony and where he thinks fiction should go after postmodernism. I think a lot of his stuff is hilarious, but the internet has canonized him too quickly after his suicide, so that much of his work is praised but unread.
I’ve read it; it’s not bad. There’re some great observations in it, dated as the piece is, though it’s not like you can blame DFW for that.
I’m likely alone among the commentariat here in not caring at all which direction fiction takes.
Hi, F.H. — (Been out of town, hence delayed response),
I don’t really have a “side” when it comes to where fiction goes, if I think about it, although I am partial lately to non-novelly novels (if that descriptor makes sense).
In a larger sense, I suppose we don’t really get to choose or even see what fiction will eventually be important. Melville is the easy example of this; if we look at even Lawrence’s study of American Lit we can see that even Fenimore Cooper isn’t as important as he seemed to be a 100 years ago. Or think of Jay McIrney in the 80s—surely thought to be the voice of his generation or whatever, barely a footnote now, I think.
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