The Novel is Dead (says Lee Siegel)

Note to self: email Pacific MFA and ask if it is too late to switch genres from Fiction to Non-Fiction.

From The Guardian:

Literary storm rages as critic Lee Siegel pronounces the American novel dead

“For about a million reasons,” Siegel claimed, “fiction has now become a museum-piece genre most of whose practitioners are more like cripplingly self-conscious curators or theoreticians than writers. For better or for worse, the greatest storytellers of our time are the non-fiction writers.”

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2 responses to “The Novel is Dead (says Lee Siegel)

  1. Well, crap.

    In defense of the novel, it is an enduring literary form that has weathered more serious criticism from more serious critics. (The folks who take the novel to task are generally looking to make a name for themselves, rather than to change anyone’s understanding of literary modes or meanings.) And, after all, aren’t the best novels the ones that closely mirror what we know of life? So, in a way, all novels are nonfiction—but better, because they transform what is known into metaphor for the things we want to know, as readers and as people.

  2. Dennis

    David Mamet once wrote an essay in which he dealt with the constant refrain that “theatre is dying” by saying that theatre is always dying, that decline is the inevitable atmosphere that surrounds ephemeral arts (IIRC). Really amusing to see much the same debate played out in literary circles.

    The Guardian posted a response by Robert McCrum that you might find interesting:

    “Why Lee Siegel is wrong to declare the novel dead– The US critic’s attack on the novel does us good, but history will view this as a golden age of English language creativity”

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