July 12, 2011

The pleasures of genre

One recent development in the debate around genres is an increasing discussion of "litfic" as a genre in itself. As M John Harrison, another of Miéville's literary heroes, recently wrote in his blog, "The sooner literary fiction recognises and accepts its generic identity, the sooner it can get help." Miéville heartily concurs: "I love genres; I think they are fascinating. My issue with litfic is not that it is a genre but that (a) it doesn't think it is and (b) it thinks it's ipso facto better than all the ones that are genres. Literary fiction of that ilk – insular, socially and psychologically hermetic, neurotically backslapping and self-congratulatory about a certain milieu, disaggregated from any estrangement or rubbing of aesthetics against the grain – is in poor shape."
A life in writing: an interview with China Miéville

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