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The Origins and Characteristics of Minimalistic Literature

wellknown literary or pop allusions, or statistics, or

scientific jargon (or jargon from dozens of sources) either to boldly interrupt his preceding material, or to only

slightly color it. . . . He writes sermons, trivializes,

breaks up syntax, changes parts of speech, creates new words

. . . frequently juxtaposes the serious and the trivial . .

. retracts what he has just said . . . creates a spatial form

close to collage or sculpture, where structure becomes more

important than content. . . . Fragmentation, multiple points

of view, a literature that begins with traditional meaning,

which is then undercut or overlaid with additional

statement, then mixed or split apart or truncated, and then

given metaphoric transformationall function to create

portraits that shift, in traditional terms, between meaning

and nonmeaning, with mixtures of what would conventionally

be called the banal and fantastic, the comic and

One example of Barthelme's programmatically dysfunctional narrative is found in the introductory paragraph of "The Party," which among other things is a parody of toosophisticated life in the world of culture: "I went to a party and corrected a pronunciation. The man whose voice I had adjusted fell back into the kitchen. I praised a Bonnard. It was not a Bonnard. My new glasses, I explained, and I'm terribly sorry, but significant variations elude me, vodka exhausts me, I was young once, essential services are being maintained."5 The words are of course disjunctive, seemingly as out of place as Lucky's disjointed monologue in Waiting for Godot; they do not belong together, and the implicit point of the story is that nothing belongs together or perhaps that nothing belongs separately. The important point is that metafictional creation is a selfconscious workingout of art, which explores even if it...

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The Origins and Characteristics of Minimalistic Literature. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:16, August 17, 2017, from
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