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Reading Versus Watching: Episodic Characters

One thing that surprised me about Cervantes' classic was it's episodic nature. It doesn't have the overarching narratives that have been been imposed on it by countless adaptations in other media. Instead it moves smoothly from one vignette to another, much like a television show. And what a television show!

Reading Versus Watching: An Introduction

Is there a difference between what we read and what we watch? A new column by Eric Rosenfield attempts to answer the question.

It's the Format: The Problem with Literary Magazines

The only way to save literary magazines is to change them.

Cognitive Dissonance in Literature as Business

I'm no great booster of market capitalism, so don't get me wrong here, this article is not going to be a defense of Milton Friedman Free Market Monetarism™. I'm a fan of social democracy and the intervention of governments in financially supporting all sorts of public goods from health care for all at one end of the importance spectrum, all the way down to experimental arts and letters at the other. Nevertheless for people who live and work in North America market capitalism is what we've got. What that means for producers of cultural artifacts—poems, short stories, paintings, movies, novels, commemorative mugs, chocolate candies modeled after the vaginas of performance artists, etc.—is that if said producer is producing a product and then selling it, those sales of said product are going to be determined by the old fashioned market rules of Supply and Demand.

What is Wet Asphalt?

Stop blaming the reader.

Read any article in any magazine about the state of fiction in America: most often the first thing mentioned will be the competition for time that contemporary fiction is engaged in with television, movies and video games. The reader, we are told, has been lured away by flashy new media. The reader is silly and impressionable and easily distracted by shiny objects held before her gaze. The reader is tired of made-up stories told in prose--this having to do, apparently, with the post-9/11 world, or the post-twentieth century world, or the post-contemporary condition or something like that. No, instead she only wants non-fiction, preferably memoir. Some critics have even derided fiction authors who pursue popularity as trying to be "celebrities." It seems there is some crime in wanting to be read widely, wanting to be culturally relevant, wanting more than to be read only by other writers. "What's the point?" these defeatists say with a shrug. "People don't like to read fiction anymore. It’s not our fault."