This class I keep babbling on about: the professor edits and writes for an online scholarly journal called nonsite. One of the joys of this class has proven to be the defense of genre that’s crept in in various places. To wit: “Literature, Genre, and Standards of Criticism.”
If reading academic jargon gives you hives, avoid this link. But if no, this is may be the best defense I can give for my crit style at Clarion. I pretty much assumed, for better or worse (and I was often wrong to begin with this assumption, I’m sure), that everyone had the following goal, at least in the general sense:
“One central, characteristic purpose defined by the literary practice and served by the literary work is to develop in depth, through subject and form, a theme which is in some sense central to human concerns and which can therefore be recognized as of more or less universal interest.”
Hence, my “posit a theme and produce the most logical reading possible based on that account of theme” version of crit. Anyway, I was gratified to find someone who’d codified the thing I kept claiming I was doing.
Or perhaps this piece sheds some light on what Kessel meant when he claimed that literary fiction was also a genre. In which case, my crits were all wrong, since I used the lit crit model on everyone’s genre fic.
Clearly I must do more thinking on this…