The Politics and Poetics of Journalistic Narrative

Overview

The Politics and Poetics of Journalistic Narrative investigates the textuality of all discourse, arguing that the ideologically charged distinction between "journalism" and "fiction" is socially constructed rather than natural. Phyllis Frus separates literariness from aesthetic definitions, regarding it as a way of reading a text through its style to discover how it "makes" reality. Frus also takes up the problem of how we determine both the truth of historical events such as the Holocaust and the fictional or ...
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Overview

The Politics and Poetics of Journalistic Narrative investigates the textuality of all discourse, arguing that the ideologically charged distinction between "journalism" and "fiction" is socially constructed rather than natural. Phyllis Frus separates literariness from aesthetic definitions, regarding it as a way of reading a text through its style to discover how it "makes" reality. Frus also takes up the problem of how we determine both the truth of historical events such as the Holocaust and the fictional or factual status of narratives about them. Frus first examines narratives by Stephen Crane and Ernest Hemingway, showing that conventional understanding of the categories of fiction and nonfiction frequently determines the differences we perceive in texts, differences we imagine are determined by common sense. When journalists writing about historical events adopt the Hemingwayesque, understated narrative style that is commonly associated with both "objectivity" and "literature" (John Hersey is one example), the reader sees the damage done by the wholesale construction of literature as a "pure," nonfunctional art; it leads to an audience unable to face the historical and social conditions in which it must function. She interprets New Journalistic narratives by Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, and Janet Malcolm, suggesting by her critical practice ways to counter the reification of modern consciousness to which both objective journalism and aestheticized fiction contribute.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Anyone concerned with the media—print, film, television, or others—should welcome Frus's serious inquiry into liminal areas of representation." David Halliburton, American Literature
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521102742
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface: True Stories
Acknowledgments
Introduction: What Isn't Literature 1
1 Writing After the Fact: Crane, Journalism, and Fiction 13
2 "News That Stays": Hemingway, Journalism, and Objectivity in Fiction 53
3 News That Fits: The Construction of Journalistic Objectivity 90
4 Other American New Journalism: 1960s New Journalism as "Other" 120
5 The "Incredibility of Reality" and the Ideology of Form 157
6 Freud and Our "Wolfe Man": The Right Stuff and the Concept of Belatedness 196
Conclusion 233
Notes 237
Works Cited 261
Index 285
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