The Anxiety of Obsolescence
281 pages

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It almost goes without saying that the rise in popularity of television has killed the audience for "serious" literature. This is such a given that reading Fitzpatrick's challenge to this notion can be very disconcerting, as she traces the ways in which a small cadre of writers of "serious" literature--DeLillo, Pynchon, and Franzen, for instance--have propagated this myth in order to set themselves up as the last bastions of good writing. Fitzpatrick first explores whether serious literature was ever as all-pervasive as critics of the television culture claim and then asks the obvious question: what, or who, exactly, are these guys defending good writing against?

Fitzpatrick examines the ways in which the anxiety about the supposed death of the novel is built on a myth of the novel's past ubiquity and its present displacement by television. She explores the ways in which this myth plays out in and around contemporary fiction and how it serves as a kind of unacknowledged discourse about race, class, and gender. The declaration constructs a minority status for the "white male author" who needs protecting from television's largely female and increasingly non-white audience. The novel, then, is transformed from a primary means of communication into an ancient, almost forgotten, and thus, treasured form reserved for the well-educated and well-to-do, and the men who practice it are exalted as the practitioners of an almost lost art.

Such positioning serves to further marginalize women writers and writers of color because it makes the novel, by definition, the preserve of the poor endangered white man. If the novel is only a product of a small group of white men, how can the contributions of women and writers of color be recognized? Instead, this positioning abandons women and people of color to television as a creative outlet, and in return, cedes television to them. Fitzpatrick argues that there's a level of unrecognized patronization in assuming that television serves no purpose but to provide dumb entertainment to bored women and others too stupid to understand novels. And, instead, she demonstrates the real positive effects of a televisual culture.



Publié par
Date de parution 14 juillet 2006
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780826592101
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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THEAnxiety Obsolescence OF T H EA M E R I C A NN O V E LI NT H EA G EO FT E L E V I S I O N
Kathleen Fitzpatrick
The Anxiety of Obsolescence
The Anxiety of Obsolescence The American Novel in the Age of Television
Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Vanderbilt University Press NASHVILLE
©  Vanderbilt University Press All rigts reserved First Edition 
     
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Printed on acid-free paper. Manufactured in te United States of America
Portions of Capter  of tis book first appeared in different form as “he Clockwork Eye: Tecnology, Woman, and te Decay of te Modern in homas Pyncon’s V.,” inhomas Pyncon: Reading from te Margins, ed. Niran Abbas (). I gratefully acknowledge te permission granted by te Associated University Presses to reprint tis material.  he “scematic diagram of a general communication system” on page is reprinted fromhe Matematical heory of Communication, copyrigt ,  by Board of Trustees of te University of Illinois Press, and is used wit permission of te University of Illinois Press.  he “encoding/decoding” diagram on page  is reprinted from Culture, Media, Language, copyrigt  by Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, University of Birmingam, and is used wit permission of Taylor & Francis.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Fitzpatrick, Katleen, – he anxiety of obsolescence : te American novel in te age of television / Katleen Fitzpatrick.—st ed. p. cm. Includes bibliograpical references (p. ) and index. ISBN --- (acid-free paper) ISBN --- (pbk. : acid-free paper) . American fiction—History and criticism. . Television broadcasting—United States—Influence. . Literacy—United States. . Popular culture—United States. I. Title. PSF  ’.—dc 
For Rick
Acknowledgments  Introduction: he Anxiety of Obsolescence  hree Discourses on te Age of Television  Macine  Spectacle  Network  Obsolescence, te Marginal, and te Popular  Notes  Bibliograpy  Index
ix        
Any text suc as tis one owes its existence to countless individuals and in-stitutions tat ave supported its coming into being, and any expression of gratitude seems destined for inadequacy. Suc an inadequacy in wat follows sould be understood as a failure in te expression, rater tan te absence, of sincere emotion.  his project as taken a long and often painful pat to its final fruition but as been fostered at eac stage by teacers, counselors, and guides wo ave managed troug teir efforts to make it someting more tan I could ave produced on my own. At New York University, te instruction and mentor-sip of Cyrus Patell, Pillip Brian Harper, Josepine Hendin, Pat Hoy, and Carolyn Dever created te atmospere of support and rigor tat enabled me to take an ill-formed question about te relationsip between television and te novel and develop a project tat as sustained my interest troug many dark moments. he material support of bot te Englis Department and te Expository Writing Program were crucial to te speedy completion of te dissertation from wic te present project developed. hat dissertation alsobenefited from te critical input of te postmodernist dissertation support group, including Sandy Baldwin, Martin FitzPatrick, and Jae Roe, wose camaraderie and friendly callenges made te process as wortwile as te product. I also want to tank Megan Abbott, Margaret Longbrake, and Laurie Marcus for teir demanding, insigtful readings of my work. For teir unflag-ging support troug te always tendentious and often exilarating days in te doctoral program, I’d like to convey my deepest gratitude to Corinne Abate, Stepen Brauer, Josua Gaylord, Micael Matto, Laney Preston-Matto, James Polcin, Aaron Rosental, and all te members of Table , wose sympaty, kindness, and eternal readiness wit te appropriate televisual reference made te early days of tis project more fun tan I could ave oped.  At Pomona College, I ave been blessed wit generous colleagues, bot pres-
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