Academic journal article The Review of Contemporary Fiction

The Imp of the Perverse

Academic journal article The Review of Contemporary Fiction

The Imp of the Perverse

Article excerpt

Although the label applied to us over the decades kept changing--Fabulists, Black Humorists, Postmodernists--the list of Usual Suspects remained fairly constant: in alphabetical order, Barth, Barthelme, Coover, Gaddis, Gass, Hawkes, perhaps Pynchon. We ourselves, I believe, were more impressed by the differences between our stuff than by what critics and reviewers took to be their similarities, but we respected one another's work and enjoyed one another's company at our occasional path-crossings on some university campus or at some literary conference. When Bob belatedly joined the ranks of fiction-writing academics by becoming Brown University's (and the planet's) first-ever Professor of Electronic Fiction, his boundless energy and hospitality much facilitated those path-crossings: not long after his appointment, he organized a gathering of those Usual Suspects under the Barthelmish heading Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts--the first of several such get-togethers under his auspices.

"Electronic literature? …

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