David Shields’ pale echoes

Robert Archambeau over at Samizdat has written an excellent assessment of David Shields‘ over-hyped Reality Hunger:

It’s not just that Shields sees novelty where, in fact, there’s a long historical tradition. It’s that his version of an aesthetic of incoherence in “Long Live the Anti-Novel, Built from Scraps” is attenuated in the ethical dimension that was so thoroughly elaborated by earlier thinkers. Shields’ version of the aesthetic of incoherence isn’t a triumphant break with an impoverished past: it’s a pale echo of an old idea. It’s weak tea that thinks it is nitroglycerine.

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3 thoughts on “David Shields’ pale echoes

  1. Correct, and you’ll see that he mentions this in the bit I quote, too. BUT the criticism holds true for Reality Hunger, as well, doesn’t it? It’s the basic flaw, the intellectual laziness of Shield’s whole project.

  2. Personally, I don’t know shit about Shields, and if the criticism had been about Shields in general I wouldn’t have bothered to comment, but he mentions early in the article that he thinks that Reality Hunger is a useful book.

    I do, on the other hand, very much appreciate your point (I’m against all historicisation of the present, like this guy and the jokers who insist that the single camera sitcom is a “superior” form). And, with what you say, it’s actually slightly baffling that he’s okay with Reality Hunger.

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