Skip to main content

The Novel is Dead Long Live the Novel

The novel as practiced today is an archaic form that no longer answers the needs of the modern psyche.
It presents a rigid, exhausted formula, and has grown unwieldy as an instrument of expression.
It lacks the possibility of further evolution, because it clings to the descriptive requisites of a banal universe.
It has grown artificial, and, like the rhyme, represents a straitjacket to the creative visionary of our age.
The novel of the future will be a compendium of all the manifestation of life in a timeless and spaceless projection.
The novel of the future will use telegrams, letters, decrees, fairy tales, legends, and dreams as documents for the new mythos.
The novel of the future will be a plastic encyclopedia of the fusion of subjective and objective reality.
The novel of the future will synthesize all the styles of the epoch in an effort towards unity.
The novel of the future will plunge into the underworld of out being and create fables in consciousness.
The novel of the future will produce new myths of dynamic movement of the century.
The novel of the future will express the magic reality in a language that is non-imitative and evolutionary.

[signed]
Harry Crosby
Stuart Gilbert
Eugene Jolas
Theo Rutra
Robert Sage
- transition no. 18, November 1929

Found this manifesto in Appendix (Some Notes on the Contents of transition, 1929 - 1936. ) to Dylan Thomas' Early Prose: A Study in Creative Mythology by Annis Pratt. According to the writer of the book, "The essays, manifestos, stories, and poems in this avant-grade periodical [transition, published in Paris] of 1927 - 1938 bear striking analogy to the concerns underlying Dylan Thomas' early prose."

"Novel is dead!" has been exclaimed many times ( at times we read it twice every six month in newspapers and non-fiction books). Invariable, someone denies and cries aloud, "Long Live the Novel!"

What really interested me in this particular manifesto from 1929 were the lines about "timeless and spaceless projection", "telegrams, letters, decrees, fairy tales, legends, and dreams as documents for the new mythos" and "a plastic encyclopedia of the fusion of subjective and objective reality".

Isn't the Internet, as an instrument of expression, already ebbing along the same lines?

-0-

* Theo Rutra was a pseudonym used by Eugene Jolas on many occasions.
You can see the "introduction" to the Manifesto here

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Famous Old Faces of Doordarshan

Some people recall the faces and some people recall the names. Here are images of some of the famous readers and presenters of Doordarshan down the years. If you recognize any of them, leave a comment.
[Update 1: Most of the faces now have names thanks to helpful comments by olio-gallimaufry]
[Update 2: Included image of one of the earliest presenters, Gopal Kaul. Send in generously from personal collection by son, Ashutosh Kaul. Sept, 2010.]
[Major Update 3: Got a tip-off about a documentary about the famous faces of Doordarshan from the makersof“The Golden Trail , DD@50 :Special feature on Golden Jubilee of Doordarshan” from which these caps were taken. I managed to catch the incredible documentary and am adding some more faces/name and part of the docu here. New ones can be found after the image of Narotam Puri. 30th Oct, 2010]

 Pratima Puri. Believed to be the first Doordarshan reader.

Indian Cigarette Vintage Ads

He put a cigarette in his mouth and, as a matter of silent routine, offered one to Gwyn, who said ‘No thanks.”Richard looked at him.”I packed it in.”"You what?”"I stopped. Three days ago. Cold. That’s it. You just make the life choice.”

Richard looked up and inhaled needfully. He gazed at his cigarette. He didn’t really want to smoke it. He wanted to eat it. Almost the only thing that he still liked about Gwyn was that he still smoked…Paradoxically, he no longer wanted to give up smoking: what he wanted to do was take up smoking. Not so much to fill the little gaps between cigarettes with cigarettes (there wouldn’t be time, anyway) or to smoke two cigarettes at once. It was more that he felt the desire to smoke a cigarette even when he was smoking a cigarette. The need was and wasn’t being met…

While it would always be true and fair to say that Richard felt like a cigarette, it would now be doubly true and fair to say it. He felt like a cigarette. And he felt like a cigaret…

Kishore Kumar, Yodel-ay-ee-oooo Songs, A List

*Updated with corrections pointed out by Bart Plantenga, author of some incredible book on Yodeling including Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World.

-0-

Kishore Kumar's brother Anoop Kumar, who we basically know for the line 'O manu tera toh hua ab mera kya hoga', used to own lots of Austrian music records. And from these records, Kishore Kumar picked up the art of Yodel singing, an art perfected in bathroom and then introduced by him to the world of Hindi film music. According to his biography 'Kishore Kumar: method in madness‎ ' by Derek Bose, "Kishore was a fan of the Swiss singer Tex Norton [* Tex Morton, an Australian cowboy born in New Zealand who sang  in the gene autry / Jimmie Rodgers style] and the Australian Jimmy Rogers [*Jimmie Rodgers, perhaps the most American and one of the most famous yodelers in the world, famous for his blue yodels] as well."

Although most of these songs by Kishore Kumar are thought to be '…