A list of my literary interests

So just for the record, here is a (probably incomplete) list of my literary and cultural interests:

  • canon formation and promulgation (especially as presented by anthologies, syllabi and awards
  • the intersection of literary and genre fiction, especially literary speculative fiction (slipstream, weird) and speculative literary fiction (allegory, magic realism, folk realism)
  • indie/DIY publishing and marketing
  • narrative theory, especially point of view and characterization
  • censorship and literary production
  • small magazines
  • theorizing the radical middle
  • hilobrow and the middlebrow and related issues (camp, kitsch, avant garde, etc.)
  • gaming as storytelling (from pen-and-paper RPGes to FPSes to social gaming)
  • fiction and landscape (especially prairie- and desert-scapes)
  • authorship and authority (from author interviews and public appearances to uses of social media by)
  • authorship and copyright
  • collaborative storytelling
  • Romanticism and post-Romanticism especially in relation to belated ethnic/minority/national literatures
  • the novel as discourse (especially Bakhtin’s notion of heteroglossia)
  • aesthetics
  • readership and reader response (everything from the cult of the author to strong misreadings to fan fiction)
  • representations of faith (and faiths) in narrative art
  • history of the book
  • the book/film review as literary discourse/form
  • Mormon literature as ethnic and/or minor literature
  • the history of Mormon literary criticism especially in relation to defining the field of Mormon literature
  • humor in fiction
  • permutations of narrative art (fiction, film, graphic novel, etc.) and how theory shifts to accomodate these forms

This is why I didn’t go on to a PhD program.

7 thoughts on “A list of my literary interests”

  1. Great! Show and tell time… My literary interests include/included the following:

    – Science fiction and fantasy in basically every dimension: as genre literature, history of, style and esthetics, themes, influences, and (in particular) worldbuilding

    – Composition theory re: fiction authors, with a particular interest in the authorial process and on the impact of an author’s communities on literary production

    – Rhetorical theory, with a particular attention to the problem of varying standards re: quality of nonfiction writing in different discourse communities and for different rhetorical situations

    – Bakhtinian heteroglossia

    – Medieval literature, in particular the medieval romance

    – The marvelous (as a category akin to but different from the fantastic)

    – Genre theory (both socially based and with respect to intrinsic characteristics, plus my own approach which is based in desired reader response)

    – Coming-of-age literature

    – Mormon perspectives on literary criticism and the value of literature

    I still think a lot of these include some promising directions for research and literary study. Sadly, I found that I didn’t actually care as much about pursuing any of my own research projects as about informational writing and editing. (Fiction writing as an active interest came later.)

  2. So what you’re saying, Wm, is that those of us who did take on doctoral work are too narrow-minded? 😉

    ——–

    This is quite the list. Mind if I respond with the places we might navel-gaze together or in parallel?:

    canon formation and promulgation

    One of my main interests/research methodologies is ethnopoetics, which is an attempt to listen to and to record the primarily oral poetics of cultures and traditions that exist outside of the Western canon and its privileging of print culture and the logics of the written word. Right now my scholarship is focused on contemporary American performance poetry and its history and influences—things that aren’t necessarily a part of the academic poetry canon, though performance poetry has become increasingly mainstream.

    indie/DIY publishing and marketing

    This is somewhat related (I think) to my growing interest in and attempts to practice open-access culture.

    censorship and literary production

    As I write, I’m interested in negotiating between irreverence and my mom’s voice in my head.

    theorizing the radical middle

    I like to stand here, too.

    hilobrow and the middlebrow and related issues (camp, kitsch, avant garde, etc.)

    My dissertation subject is an avant-garde performance poet.

    authorship and copyright

    Cross reference my interest in open-access.

    collaborative storytelling

    This idea intrigues me.

    Romanticism and post-Romanticism especially in relation to belated ethnic/minority/national literatures

    I’m not very romantic. Just ask my wife.

    the novel as discourse (especially Bakhtin’s notion of heteroglossia)

    Heteroglossia comes up quite a bit in discussions of oral poetries, but I’m not as familiar with Bakhtin as I’d like to be.

    aesthetics

    And their relation to ethics and/in literature and rhetorical theory.

    readership and reader response (everything from the cult of the author to strong misreadings to fan fiction)

    I’m very interested in the relation between oral performance, audience, and acts of listening.

    representations of faith (and faiths) in narrative art

    Oo, oo, me, too: My master’s thesis took on representations and revisions of Eden in Sharon Olds’ poetry. Part of my dissertation will be a treamtment of Alex Caldiero’s performative use and refiguration of religious ritual.

    Mormon literature as ethnic and/or minor literature and the history of Mormon literary criticism especially in relation to defining the field of Mormon literature

    Ditto.

    permutations of narrative art (fiction, film, graphic novel, etc.) and how theory shifts to accomodate these forms

    This might be slightly related: I’m interested in the effects of the digital recording and presentation of poetry on the production and distribution of the art (i.e. poetry on YouTube, in PennSound’s and UbuWeb’s awesome audio archives, my nascent use of Internet Archive as a place to post audio recordings of my own poems).

  3. Tyler:

    That’s exactly what I’m saying.

    but I’m also saying that this is why I wasn’t suited for a doctoral program. Specialization has turned out to be anathema to my career, scholarly interests, and (and this is the one where it hurts most) fiction writing.

    Also: I enjoyed reading that open access culture link. Unfortunately, I also have a list of interests related to higher education, technical education, technology and marketing/public relations. Open access/open source is over on that list.

    Also also: Yes, the digital recording and presentation of poetry really changes the game, linking written poetry (as opposed to slam poetry) and performance in a way that has been missing.

  4. Jonathan:

    I like the way you frame rhetorical theory, composition theory and genre theory. All three of those sound very interesting to me.

    Did I mention that I also dabbled in discourse analysis in college?

  5. Haha @ Sarah, and I love me some RPGs. It’s pretty sad when you get addicted for awhile though…but I am very familar with some of your other interests as well such as humor and sci-fi! Love it 😀

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