Current writers among the avant-garde have begun to subvert the romantic bastions of sublime creativity and eminent authorship by adopting both piracy and parody as sovereign, aesthetic values. Such exponents of what critics have now dubbed “conceptual literature” disavow the lyrical mandate of self-conscious self-assertion in order to explore the readymade potential of the “uncreative.” They resort to a diverse variety of antiexpressive, antidiscursive strategies (including the use of forced rules, random words, copied texts, boring ideas, and even cyborg tools), doing so in order to erase any artistic evidence of “lyric style.” Such writers call into question the concepts of both “intentionality” and “expressiveness” in literature. They constrain the cognitive functions of the self on behalf of other aesthetic functions in the text (be these functions automatic, mannerist, or aleatoric in their conceptualization). Such writers have thereby expanded the concept of writing beyond the formal limits of any expressive intentions, doing so in order to conceive of, hitherto, inconceivable preconditions for the act of writing itself.
Skip Nav Destination
Christian Bök; Two Dots Over a Vowel. boundary 2 1 August 2009; 36 (3): 11–24. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-2009-017
Download citation file: