Quotes I Might Use Jan. 24th, 2013 etc. on Acker and Barthelme

"Increasingly dependent on borrowed texts, Acker's first major novel, Great Expectations, begins with a blatant plagiarism from Dickens's own novel of the same title, then shifts to autobiographic detail about her mother's suicide, and allusions to the writings of Madame de La Fayette, John Keats, and Herman Melville." Link enotes

"...some feminists have condemned Acker for depicting women as degraded sex objects. However, others commend Acker's persistent efforts to defy literary convention and to unmask the inherent misogyny of Western culture by portraying sexual domination as the primary tool of female oppression. Influenced by the cut-up techniques of Burroughs and the narrative strategies of French anti-novelist Alain Robbe-Grillet and Marguerite Duras, Acker's audacious attempts to appropriate and rewrite her own versions of literary classics are recognized as an intellectually challenging endeavor, especially as revealed by her impressive grasp of complex literary theory and comprehensive knowledge of Western literature. A subversive literary inventor and a defiant voice against patriarchal society..." Link enotes

"After a while, the good-soldier rigidity of polished prose can begin to seem dull, and it gets harder to resist the temptation of nonsense. How wonderful it would be to scatter words as they rise to consciousness, to let them lie where they fall." Link Let's Go

"Samuel Beckett set the bar high for writers interested in the effects of nonsense. Before him, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein provided their own examples of how rhythm can make meaning out of repetition." Link Let's Go

"For Barthelme, the crowded here-and-now provides the material for this engagement. Mix things up, make something new with the detritus of culture, and the ineffable can be pondered, if not clearly defined." Link Let's Go

"But while his defensiveness is off-putting in this short essay, he includes a helpful description of his technique: "Mixing bits of this and that from various areas of life to make something that did not exist before is an oddly hopeful endeavor." Link Let's Go

"In the title essay of Not-Knowing, he argues that "art is always a meditation upon external reality rather than a representation of external reality" and imaginative writing in particular should pursue "the as-yet unspeakable, the as-yet unspoken." Link Let's Go

"This self-consciously positive "assent" to what one is bound to inevitably partakes of irony, and this irony as an "autonomous vision," not just as a "satiric technique," is what he sees as one of the dominant attitudes to life of Barthelme's characters who hold a vision of "life itself as inherently fractured and discordant" (100-01) Link Ishiwari

"and to demonstrate that what he calls "innovative fictions" are not autonomous but involved in the world, that their chief merit is their "capacity to extend the possibilities of fictional engagement beyond mimesis" (2). Link Ishiwari

"Instead of the old Oedipal strategies of conflict or parricide, it suggests avoidance, playing down ('turning down') the whole question. . . ." Durand sees in The Dead Father the "old guilty conscience of tradition up to modernism" make room for a "postmodernist fantasy of reconciliation," a transition which leads him to conclude that "Barthelme's [stories] may be the first of a new generation whose stories owe little to the old subject, the old secrets" (163). Link Ishiwari

Robert Con Davis, in his metapsychological interpretation of the novel, also underlines the importance of the relationship between the father and language. "The father's authority" portrayed in the novel, according to his Lacanian variation of this relationship, "is not a social force . . . but a function within the structure of the mind that can be depicted only symbolically." Link Ishiwari

For, as Gordon points out, "[u]ltimately . . . human experience is a matter of linguistic survival and identity . . ." (164), and in consequence what she conceives of as one of Barthelme's most distinguished characteristics is his ability to manipulate, to "dislocate," these binding realities, both moral and linguistic (23). Link Ishiwari