In the Singer's Temple: Prose Fictions of Barthelme, Gaines, Brautigan, Piercy, Kesey, and Kosinski

In the Singer's Temple: Prose Fictions of Barthelme, Gaines, Brautigan, Piercy, Kesey, and Kosinski

In the Singer's Temple: Prose Fictions of Barthelme, Gaines, Brautigan, Piercy, Kesey, and Kosinski

In the Singer's Temple: Prose Fictions of Barthelme, Gaines, Brautigan, Piercy, Kesey, and Kosinski

Synopsis

Hicks argues convincingly that current American fiction mirrors the cultural fragmentation that has occurred in America since World War II. He proposes that realism is no longer the dominant mode, that the modern American writers he discusses have abandoned public experience and social realism for intensely personal experiences and literary modes of black humor, fable romance, and allegory. This inward retreat to literary subcultures reflects the breakdown of mainstream American culture.

Originally published in 1981.

Excerpt

I undertook In the Singer's Temple as a continuing interest from an earlier anthology (Cutting Edges: Young American Fiction for the '70s), found in its writing a larger fascination than I had planned, and labored finally to end it, as one must do with all fulfilling work that must have a life of its own. Early sections were written in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and I am very grateful for the special counsel offered by Louis D. Rubin, Jr., and by Townsend Ludington and Christopher Brookhouse. Part of the book was drafted in Paris, and I am indebted to Michel Fabre of the Sorbonne for his observations on Afro-American fiction. Most of it was completed in Davis, California, and I am grateful to my colleagues, especially those in American literature, for their assistance: James Woodress, Michael Hoffman, and Brom Weber.

I would also like to express my thanks to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Commission, and the Committee for Research, University of California at Davis for their generosity in permitting me expanses of time in which to read and write.

There are many friends and students, too numerous to list, and I have appreciated their patience and support. A great deal of cooperation was offered, but the book is finally mine, and I am wholly responsible for whatever virtues or defects the reader encounters on his way.

I would like to dedicate this book to the memory of my mother, Pearl Elizabeth Hicks, who was there as long as she was here, but not quite long enough to have seen In the Singer's Temple in print.

JACK H I C K S
University of California, Davis . . .

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