Louis Armand in Tunisia

    Realism’s Last Word

    Louis Armand in Tunisia
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    Date(s) - 8 Apr 2013
    2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

    Meeting Room N702, Menzies Building, Clayton Campus

    Category(ies) No Categories

    A Writers and Their World seminar by Louis Armand – all welcome.

    Louis Armand in Tunisia

    Louis Armand in Tunisia

    This presentation centres around the status of the novel in contemporary anglo-american publishing, and the future of ‘experimental’ fiction. A recent article by Zadie Smith attempts to define the future of the anglo-american novel within a framework of narrative fiction in which the “experimental” is normalised, exemplified for Smith by Tom McCarthy’s Remainder. While Smith eschews any future for linguistically innovative fiction, recent work like Joshua Cohen’s Witz seem to contradict the programmatising of what constitutes the novel in English. Nevertheless, the weight of orthodoxy, backed by the increased corporatisation of publishing, vastly restricts the available perception of writerly possibilities in the language that produced Wolf, Beckett and James Joyce. Similar forces can be seen at work in translation. While the 1980s saw a vastly inflated interest in English-language publication of “French theory,” for example, the major fictional works of one of the leading intellectual figures of the theory milieu, Philippe Sollers (editor of Tel Quel) remain unpublished in English. This raises questions about the basic commitment of even the academic publishing industry to the work itself versus the perceived market. Early works by Sollers, as with those of Beckett, Artaud and others, did appear in English from John Calder, but with the acquisition of Calder by Alma, the only remaining international publisher of experimental fiction, in English and translation, is Dalkey Archive. The question that raises itself is how, in the current publishing environment, is it possible even to begin a serious discussion about the “future of the novel”?

    Louis Armand is a Sydney-born writer & visual artist who has lived in Prague since 1994. He has worked as an editor, publisher & curator, & as a subtitles technician at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival; currently he lectures in the Philosophy Faculty of Charles University & is an editor of VLAK magazine. He has published four novels, Breakfast at Midnight (Equus, 2012), Clair Obscur (Equus, 2011), Menudo (Antigen, 2005) & The Garden (Salt, 2001). In addition, he is the author of seven collections of poetry – most recently, Letters from Ausland (Vagabond, 2011) & Synopticon (with John Kinsella; Litteraria, 2012) – and of a number of volumes of criticism, including Solicitations: Essays on Criticism & Culture (Litteraria, 2008).

    Run by the HDR program in Creative Writing, as part of the Literary and Cultural Studies Graduate Research Program