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Experimental literature

Discussion in 'Literature' started by PetShopBoy88, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. PetShopBoy88

    PetShopBoy88 Active Member

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    I have to do a report on experimental literature in the near future, but I cannot find any good books or web sites on it. Does anybody know a good resource, or perhaps know a little about expirimental literatature that they could tell me?
     
  2. gnomon

    gnomon Well-Known Member

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    What qualifies as experimental literature? Are you talking about surrealist, anti-surrealist or something else?
     
  3. PetShopBoy88

    PetShopBoy88 Active Member

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    All I know is that James Joyce is experimental literature, but I don't know if the genre includes more types of literature as well.
     
  4. gnomon

    gnomon Well-Known Member

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    Oh. I was thinking more along the lines of some French writers who authored some books in an "automatic" writing style. Found them in an anthology of anti-classics (which I mistakenly called anti-surrealist:eek:) works.

    If experimental means along the lines of Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake I'm not sure what else really qualifies. These were experimental in their linguistic form. Sounds rather vague. I would consider Faulkner experimental. Same with Beckett, Proust, Kafka and Cummings. Sorry, I'm afraid I really don't understand but what qualifies, for the sake of the topic, as experimental. But I'm not a student of literature. In the past ten years of working with books I've never heard that particular class of writing before.

    I still think looking up an anthology like "The Automatic Muse" might be something you are looking for on this topic. It's as much a departure from classic writing as Joyce. Check Wiki or Google for the authors Andre Breton, Robert Desnos, Michel Leiris, Georges Limbour and Benjamin Péret. The last four are the authors included in the above mentioned title. The Dada movement might also be a good start. Don't remember much about it from what I read before but I think they tie in automatic writing and force inspiration as a way to liberate the self. Definitely experimental to me.

    But I'm just guessing here. I don't know if it helps or not.
     
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  5. PetShopBoy88

    PetShopBoy88 Active Member

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    Well, for all I know, that too is experimental literature. Can you tell me a bit about those writers?

    Yeah, me either. My teacher must be making things up. :p

    Cool. I think experimental literature pretty much is just a departure from the classic.

    Thanks for that info.
     
  6. standing_alone

    standing_alone Well-Known Member

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    You may also want to try the beats, the most famous of which, I'm sure you know, is Jack Kerouac. One technique that was used by beat poets (first attributed to Brion Gysin, I believe) was what I've learned as "cut-up." I don't know a whole lot about cut-up poetry, but it is a technique where two (or more) different texts (perhaps different newspaper articles, as with Gysin, or even a newspaper article could be mixed with a work of literature or an instruction manuel, whatever) are cut into sections and mixed up and then written - the way I learned this was in my literary analysis class, where my professor had us bring in an essay we wrote (for any subject) and he provided us with a newspaper article. Then we just folded them in half, lined them up and wrote the new sentences and then we corrected for grammar if we wished. Of course, it doesn't need to be done "half and half," it could be cut into quadrants or whatever. This technique (now this is all from what I recall from that class last spring, so it's best to do your own research) shows how language can be manipulated and that meaning can be made out of random strings of words. It shows how the reader makes meaning out of the text - the reader helps to make the meaning, not just the author - also brings into questions notions of authorship and whether or not one can own certain words/texts. If you find this topic interesting enough to write about, you may want to get an overview of structuralism and poststructuralism (or at the least, poststructuralism is a must). I hope this is helpful or at least gives you some ideas. :)
     
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  7. PetShopBoy88

    PetShopBoy88 Active Member

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    Yes, that's the pain I feel with this. It's just not something that can be defined all that easily as a specific movement or even as a specific genre.
     
  8. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    You know, I was just thinking. My autobiography would certainly fit "experimental literature" tag well. You see, I am an avid meditator and am describing, in exhaustive detail, my inner experiences. In parts, I literally have created an "idea shape" of a very clear image to go with the written text. My foolhardy thinking is that the reader MAY "pick up" those rather intense images. I am not aware of any other work that has been written with this in mind ... no pun intended.
     
  9. nutshell

    nutshell Well-Known Member

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    Kurt Vonnegutt
     
  10. PetShopBoy88

    PetShopBoy88 Active Member

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    Really? I never would have described him thusly... Then again, I've only read one of his books...
     
  11. nutshell

    nutshell Well-Known Member

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    Which book did you read?

    He usually writes in stream of consciousness and uses other extreme methods such as playing around with multiple POV's in a given novel. He seemed exerimental to me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Vonnegut
     
  12. PetShopBoy88

    PetShopBoy88 Active Member

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    That is a good question, lol.
     
  13. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Check out "poetry slams", and Ken Nordine's "word jazz" site. Your teacher will think you're the hippest kid in class. Or if he/she's an idiot, they'll try to claim these are not "literature".
     
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  14. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Hey, I thought of someone else ... see if you can find a copy of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's "A Coney Island of the Mind" (1958). In it you'll find poems with the words placed in specific places on the pages, like a ...

    ball
    ....bouncing

    ............down



    ..................stairs.

    (I had to use the dots to make it work in this program, sorry, but you get the idea.)

    ... he's using the physical arrangement of the words and the white spaces in between them as part of his poems. I don't know if he's the first to do this, but he is definately one of the best. It's a great little book.


    Here are a few poems from "A Coney Island Of The Mind".
     
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