Textermination

Overview

In her latest novel, Textermination, the eminent British novelist/critic Christine Brooke-Rose pulls a wide array of characters out of the great works of literature and drops them into the middle of the San Francisco Hilton. Emma Bovary, Emma Woodhouse, Captain Ahab, Odysseus, Huck Finn... all are gathered for the Annual Convention of Prayer for Being, to meet, to discuss, to pray for their continued existence in the mind of the modern reader. But what begins as a grand enterprise erupts into total pandemonium: ...
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Overview

In her latest novel, Textermination, the eminent British novelist/critic Christine Brooke-Rose pulls a wide array of characters out of the great works of literature and drops them into the middle of the San Francisco Hilton. Emma Bovary, Emma Woodhouse, Captain Ahab, Odysseus, Huck Finn... all are gathered for the Annual Convention of Prayer for Being, to meet, to discuss, to pray for their continued existence in the mind of the modern reader. But what begins as a grand enterprise erupts into total pandemonium: with characters from different times, places, and genres all battling for respect and asserting their own hard-won fame and reputations. Dealing with such topical literary issues as deconstruction, multiculturalism, and the Salman Rushdie affair, this wild and humorous satire pokes fun at the academy and ultimately brings into question the value of determining a literary canon at all.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
British novelist and critic Brooke-Rose ( Xorander ) might better have called this inventive book Six Characters in Search of a Reader. The setting is a literary conference, where academics have gathered to hear papers and debate about which works merit inclusion in the world's canon of literature. Also in attendance are hundreds of fictional characters--from Gilgamesh to Emma Bovary--who have come together to pray for their continued survival. Tensions run high: 20th-century characters are treated as second-class citizens, and characters from different times and places have trouble communicating with one another. After armed terrorists attack one of the pray-ins because it seems biased against Islam, TV's Columbo, McGarrett, and Magnum show up to investigate. Soon the convention is swamped with TV and movie characters who demand to be resurrected in the public memory along with their literary colleagues. Matters spin out of control until the arrival of the D.E.M. (Deus Ex Machina). Brooke-Rose has produced a wildly funny fictional entry in the ongoing debate about deconstruction, multiculturalism and the respective merits of ``fine'' and ``pop'' art. (Oct.)
Library Journal
In Textermination , characters from world literature are invited to attend an annual literary criticism conference to hear papers about themselves and pray for their continued existence--an intriguing idea poorly executed. Events occur at random as the conference suffers numerous interruptions, including an invasion by film and TV characters, and ends with fire and earthquake. Characters like Emma Woodhouse and Dorothea Brooke wander aimlessly through the narrative, bearing little resemblance to their originals and too much to each other. The writing is tedious, confusing, and pretentious, with distracting lists of characters and large sections of untranslated French, German, and Spanish. Contemporary critical concerns such as the canon and the roles of readers are raised, but what point the author is trying to make about them is unclear. Not recommended.-- Judy Mimken, Saginaw Valley State Univ., Mich.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811212304
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/28/1992
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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