August 28th, 2011 / 4:42 pm
Behind the Scenes

Fall Semester Reading List

Starting next week, I’ll be teaching two sections of an undergraduate course in Postmodern American Literature. For those who might be interested in what we’re reading, here’s the list:

John Barth – Lost in the Funhouse (1968)
+ excerpts from Metafiction by Patricia Waugh
+ “Mapping the Postmodern” by Andreas Huyssen

Joanna Russ – The Female Man (1975)
+ “A Cyborg Manifesto” by Donna Haraway
+ “Change of Dominant from Modernist to Postmodernist Writing” by Brian McHale

Clarence Major – My Amputations (1986)
+ “Postmodern Blackness” by bell hooks
+ “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” by Jacques Derrida

David Markson – Wittgenstein’s Mistress (1988)
+ “The Precession of the Simulacra” by Jean Baudrillard
+ “Poetics of Postmodernism” by Linda Hutcheon

Lara Glenum & Arielle Greenberg, eds. – Gurlesque: the new grrly, grotesque, burlesque poetics (2010)
+ “The Laugh of the Medusa” by Hélène Cixous
+ “The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism” by Frederic Jameson


  1. Tummler

      That image contradicts the list below it. Who could be so dour to go back to school with required readings like those?

  2. Christopher Higgs

      Haha!  Yeah, I put that image there as a placeholder until I found one I liked better.  Just found it, a Lichtenstein.  More apropos…maybe? She’s sort of afraid, sort of excited, sort of sorry to see the summer go.

  3. Ethan

      That sounds like an awesome class. Kinda makes me want to go back to school.

  4. herocious

      How do I go about getting my novel on one of your reading lists?

  5. bartleby_taco

      That is a very exciting syllabus; also makes me feel a little slighted regarding my own ‘postmodern American’ class I took. We had to read Vonnegut, Delillo, Angels In America, a lot of ‘easier’ stuff — which is fine, but not as fun as Barth, Markson, Baudrillard, Derrida, etc.

  6. Guest


  7. another guest

      Guests are not supposed to be mean. But I agree.

  8. Christopher Higgs

      Well, it would be strange to post about undergraduate classes I’m teaching as a rodeo clown, given that I’m not a rodeo clown.  But seriously, I agree with you, anonymous guest, this is certainly not at all interesting.  I’m sure no one cares.  In fact, I’m embarrassed for posting it.  You have really put egg on my face.  Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

  9. Christopher Higgs

      Glad you took the time to share your thoughtful comment, other anonymous guest.  Thanks!

  10. Christopher Higgs

      Shoot me an email, Herocious.

  11. Guest

      Perhaps you should write thoughtful content if you want more than “I’d like to be a student in your class” posts or posts like mine. 

      Simply throwing up the book list for your latest gen ed course at a major state university won’t cut it for the crowd of folks who expect more than simple, drive-by name-dropping. 

  12. Christopher Higgs

      Again, thanks for your input.  I’ll keep it under advisement.  Really thoughtful stuff, anonymous guest.  If I knew before hand what would and wouldn’t “cut it” I’d certainly have rethought this post.  Now I know.  Thanks!  

  13. Guest

      No problem. One day, I hope to get a job writing for HTMLGiant so that I can get my name out there and promote myself, even if the half-baked commentary is something anyone in a drunken stupor could write in five minutes.

      “What’s in my sock drawer today” will be my first HTMLGiant post.

  14. Jesse Hudson

      I find this really interesting considering the fact that I’ve recently rebooted my Derrida studies. Currently reading “Derrida and the Political”. So I’m glad to see which books he is being taught with/alongside. Structure, Sign, and Play was the first thing I read by him and it gave me the courage (and desire) to continue with Grammatology, Intro to Husserl’s Origin of Geometry, Speech and Phenomena, and Dissemination . 
      Speaking of which, Christopher, do you know any really stellar “intros” to Derrida that are more up to date? I really like Culler’s On Deconstruction but it was written in the 80s. Also, Spivak’s preface to Grammatology was just amazing. 

  15. Anonymous

      I kind of see anonymous’s point but it’s also kind of pointless to point it out.  (Do you see what I did there?) The post does have merit, if not in an expansive and digestible format.  You get out of it what you wish.  It looks to me like an interesting semester, and since I’m not as well versed in post-modern lit as I should be, I now know a bunch of books to check out.  So, there’s that.  Why did I just contradict where I was going in the first place?  I don’t know.  Gray areas?  I conclude that the post satisfies me.

      Where do you teach, Chris(topher?) ?  I’m interested in what you’d actually have to say about these books, as I’ve read some but not all.  If you have anything related to this class to show or pass along, I’d love to see it.

  16. Yet Another Guest

      “I’m interested in what you’d actually have to say”

      Which was sort of anon’s point.

  17. Anonymous

      I guess.  But also, that point is of sub-importance.  The post itself created a dialogue and provides information which, to me, seems about the minimum requirement of a post.  Anything else is extra, and is divergent from the original locus of the post itself.  The point of the original Anonymous poster is mostly irrelevant in the sense that it doesn’t offer anything productive to the dialogue which the post has, successfully, created.  It’s like a meta-comment, and it’s a detractor from real discussion.

  18. Kent Johnson

      This reply by Chris is like the funnieest comment I think I’ve ever seen on HTML Giant. It’s like he did the post to set it up, or something.

  19. Yet Another Guest

      “the minimum requirement of a post”

      Now that’s what you call, “damning with faint praise.”

  20. Anonymous

      You don’t need to write an encyclopedia article to produce a blog post worth considering, is what I meant, kind of.  I was more stipulating a successful post’s requirements, than I was making a criticism of the original post.

  21. adrian

      You kids are so catty here on HTMLGIANT! Reminds me of my days cleaning the mud vestibule outside the meeting room of the Ladies Literary Auxilary in Cedar Rapids… the conversations I would overhear! The only thing missing are references to important three-named authors like Mary Higgins Clark and Barbara Taylor Bradford.

      Nice list, Chris. Makes me wish I was 20 again. 

  22. Guesty

      re:catty. the only reason to ever come here is to dump on things. htmlG’s my literary 2 minutes of hate.

  23. Jimmy Chen

      bloom, or at least his omniscience, actually listed all the contents in his drawers in ‘ithaca’; was pretty sweet

  24. ryan chang

      love the Barth, Derrida, and esp. the Baudrillard. In my post-modern lit. class we read “Lost in the Funhouse” along with DFW’s ‘cover’ of it. great syllabus.

  25. Jimmy Chen

      unfortunate how the hypen-composed ‘slitty’ eyes in your avatar seem racist, considering the ethnicity implicit in your surname; it’s chill tho bro, literally 

  26. Leftofthestage

      so you’re comparing bloom to higgs?

  27. Leftofthestage

      “Makes me wish I was 20 again” & have people like higgs steal my ”parent’s” money

  28. Leftofthestage

      me so sad / me play joke / me go pee-pee in your coke

  29. deadgod

      the as yet unnamable which is proclaiming itself and which can do so, as is necessary whenever a birth is in the offing, only under the species of the nonspecies, in the formless, mute, infant, and terrifying form of monstrosity

      What is the effect of naming the “unnamable” monster?

  30. Anonymous

      Because not everybody reading HTMLGIANT is so well read and so well educated as yourself. While your degree(s,) your personal reading program, however extensive it is, renders this information redundant and banal to you– I don’t have a bachelors degree yet, I haven’t read all of the foundational works of any field let alone Postmodern American lit. I’m twenty years old. I’m working on it. I come to HTMLGIANT as part of my education. For that reason, I sincerely enjoy this post, and other posts like it (Kyle Minor’s reading list, for example) because it helps me supplement, and sometimes form, my curriculum. I can only imagine the same is true of people who are just coming to literature and are exposed to HTMLGIANT and people who haven’t benefited from the formal education and study I assume you to have been through. 

      I also doubt the accuracy of your position that Christopher Higgs “posts about the undergraduate courses [he’s] teaching as a TA” often and that these posts, when they do occur, lack “interesting content.” A scroll through his recent posts, at primae facie, suggests that the statement under scrutiny is nothing more than mudslinging. Nine of his last posts are interviews. Two are original essays/meditations. Two are substantial quotes. Two are links to things that he finds interesting. Now, there’s one thing that IS from the course he’ll be teaching — “Notes For Teaching Tao Lin’s Eeeee Eee Eeee” — and this contains, albeit in an unorganized form, original analysis of the text, relevant media, and provocative questions for the commentators. 

  31. Yet Another Guest

      “I come to HTMLGIANT as part of my education.”


  32. Jimmy Chen

      yes i said yes he is yes

  33. mimi

      i thought he (jimmy c.) was comparing bloom – or omni-guy – (contents in his drawers) to future-HTMLGiant-poster-Guest (“What’s in my sock drawer today”).

  34. Guest

      What is “primae facie”? Is that another time-waster blog I haven’t read because I’m too busy perusing The Harvard Library stacks and unable to benefit from the alternative education offered in blog postings? 

      What does a “formal education” have to do with this? Let me answer that one for you: nothing at all.

      I also said “so many,” which doesn’t necessarily equate to, “most.”

      If you’re twenty years old, the best advice I can give you comes in two parts: 1) Don’t be easily satisfied with any old post on some blog–blog posts can be fun and the postings can be interesting but they often lack depth or rigor and yet because anyone can sound remotely smart when writing them, they are often deemed credible or memorable (when in fact, most pass right through the system in a sea of white noise); 2) Disconnect your Internet for at least 10 hours a day, embrace the lonely suffering of lonely work, renew your library card, and keep your head down until you’re at least 30.  The brain is not even fully developed at 20. 

  35. William VanDenBerg

      Can I see the tardy policy?

  36. Peter Jurmu

      47 Socks, All Unmatched (Birth – ?)
      + Midnight Navy Flex Pants by Under Armour
      + 1 Wool Slipper & Accumulated Lint/Hair by Mom

  37. chris

      Seems like you’ve spent more than 2 minutes here this time.

  38. chris

      Seems like you’ve spent more than 2 minutes here this time.

  39. Brooks Sterritt

      this syllabus is sick and i’ll eat a shoe if you’ve read everything on it.

  40. Guest

      No, I haven’t read every book ever written, or used in a college course.  You should blog about that. 

  41. Brooks Sterritt

      You should “disconnect your Internet and keep your head down, son.”

  42. Guest

      Head’s down.  I’m currently working on a 50 word review of some staple-binded chapbook you assigned me the other day, one I plan to teach in my freshman composition course in the fall of 2014 (I prep my core curriculum courses for Jock Science and Business majors years in advance).

  43. Guest

      This is scarcely to suggest that there is any particular connection between taking a pee and Lawrence of Arabia, however.

  44. Jesse Hudson


  45. Anonymous
  46. Guesty

      i take it you weren’t “born”?

  47. Guesty

      getting a month’s worth out of the way.

      m/ ROAR m/

  48. Guesty

      that’d be like falling down the stairs, then looking up with bloody teeth and saying: i meant to do that.

  49. bobby

      1) Complain that this is an empty, self-serving post
      2) Fail to acknowledge that “this” is a public space for content generation via comments
      3) Comment like a mother fucker and talk down to a seemingly nice undergrad
      4) Refuse to register as anything other than, “Guest”
      5) Generate as much content w/ your commentary
      6) Are you my paw paw? 

  50. bobby


  51. bobby

      This seems like a really cool list, CH. In terms of nonfiction, Baudrillard was the best infection I ever received as an undergrad. When my lit theory professor photocopied the first chapter of “Simulacra and Simulation,” for me,  I secretly wished she wrote her personal phone number down on the back. 

  52. jtc

      then u k what it trrrruly is

  53. Guest

      I take it you’re also a student at HTMLGiant University? Year? Major?

  54. Christopher Higgs

      Hi, Jesse. 

      Three intros to Derrida that I’ve found really useful would be that Culler book you cite, as well as John Caputo’s Deconstruction in a Nutshell (which is a book of interviews with Derrida) and also Vincent Leitch’s Deconstructive Criticism (which, like the Culler book isn’t solely on Derrida but does do a good job contextualizing him.)  Also, if you haven’t already watched Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s documentary called Derrida, I’d recommend it.

      Hope that helps!


  55. MFBomb-arino

      htmlgiant university would be fuckin’ sweet

  56. bobby


  57. Jac Jemc

      I’d just like to put in the two cents that I appreciate posts like this.  I miss school, and I like finding suggestions of theory to read in relation to both books I’ve read, and books I’d like to read.

      I don’t know if a formal Ph.D. program is in my future, but I do intend to continue educating myself for the rest of my life, and posts like this provide helpful suggestions from people with similar interests.

      So, thanks, Chris!  

  58. Cole

      Whoa. I used to like commenting as “Guest” or something similar, but those names have long since been besmirched. 

      I like having the chance to look at other people’s reading lists here on HTMLGIANT. A post that shows what’s been selected for a course is already a substantive post, without any further commentary on each book. The selection already is the comment. 

      I’m especially interested in this particular list. When postmodern fiction is taught in universities, it’s often just Pynchon and Delillo and, I don’t know, maybe Gaddis. So it’s interesting to see how Chris’s list has departed from that; even Barth, who seems like standard postmodernism to us writers, does not get taught that often anymore. 

  59. Christopher Higgs

      Thanks, Jac.  I really appreciate you commenting and offering kind words, especially because I’ve carried a lump of guilt around regarding that Chicago bookstore post.  I’m not good at being a villain, especially when it comes to people for whom I have a fondness, such as yourself.  

  60. Christopher Higgs

      Thanks, Cole.  I, too, like reading book lists.  I wish more people posted what they were teaching.  One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of a new semester is wander the campus bookstore and look at what books have been assigned for what classes.  When I was taking classes, I often made decisions about what to take based on those discoveries.

  61. bobby

      I suppose it also depends on where you go. My undergrad program was full of bell hooks and Cixious, made me feel like I missed out on a lot of Derrida and Barthes, but I also got to reread Toni Morrison multiple times, which was fucking awesome. 

      Also, when I was an undergrad, there was no pomo lit course. I had to crib my affluent liberal arts college friends’ syllabuses (syllabi?) to get at that stuff. I would have gone nuts if DFW or Delillo were ever assigned reading. The closest I ever got was Pynchon’s Lot 49 and maybe Doctorow’s Ragtime (boring). 

  62. M. Kitchell

      jesus christ i bet your life is terrible

  63. deadgod

      I don’t think that’s an effect, or that it’s so.  You’d “k”now (?) not what it “is”, or even whether it’s an “it”; you’d know what you call it–namely, that you’d refer to it paradoxically, in terms that contradict each other:  unnamable monstrosity or proclaiming mutely or formless form.

      Maybe it’s essential to or characteristic of ‘postmodernism’ that it get at its thought self-consciously by way of paradox, and, in Derrida’s case, that he assert metaphysically, as it were, that all writing gets at reality by way of paradox.  –so:  disclosure of an/the undisclosable condition for the possibility of disclosure, disclosure of undisclosable stuff.

      (You might, if you go along with this sense of postmodernity, agree that ‘pre-modern’, ‘modern’, and ‘postmodern’ are modalities that, regardless of the repulsions between them, co-exist and are ever-present throughout Western civ – that this tripartite schema is a way of defining ‘Western civ’.)

      My question remains:  what is the effect of using the thrilling term monstrosity to detonate this paradox? mere sensation? or what?

  64. Cassandra Troyan

      YES! to “The Laugh of the Medusa”! Might be nice to throw in Luce Irigaray”s “When Our Lips Speak Together” as well. I remember reading it as undergrad, and found it to be extremely provoking, and fairly accessible due to its poetics.

  65. deadgod

      The selection already is the comment.

      That’s a strong way to put it, but, while everything ‘speaks for itself’, almost nothing ‘speaks for itself’ enough, especially in the course of inviting literary and/or philosophical conversation.

      It would have been interesting to see, in addition to noodle-armed sarcasm – entertaining though those efforts be – , a bit of discussion advancing this interesting “list”. 

      How will “postmodern”, “American”, and “literature” be introduced in what sounds like a somewhat introductory class?  The syllabus looks thematically organized; is there a story to this structure?  How about a killer supplementary/suggested reading list–which I’d be pretty surprised weren’t offered.  –and so on.

      Of course, there’s lots of time for such blogicles to hatch.

  66. Guest

      The irony is that you’re probably the most thin-skinned poster/commenter here.  Any non-circle the wagon post or comment draws the indignation of M. “Jesus Christ” Kitchell. 

      Who is the one getting all huffy here? 

  67. Trey

      lulz, parents paying for college

  68. Jac Jemc

      Agreed.  Handshake.

  69. bobby

      *righteous indignation of M. “Jesus Christ” Kitchell, fucker. 

  70. Guest

      how is “christopher higgs” any less anonymous to me. i’ll never meet you, i’m quite sure, and so won’t be able to apply the well earned medal for non-anonymous valor to your puffed out chest. and yeah, how is this post any better than a top ten list. it isn’t. it’s “content”.

  71. Guest

      Now Bobby, is that any way to talk in the hallowed halls of HTMLGiant U?:)

  72. jtc


      Your question feels strangely rhetorical to me. What is the effect of using the thrilling term? It has nothing to do with effect, to me. The paradox calls for the term. The term in its thrillingnesss and sensationalism works because it fits the paradox, or its the closest fit we got.

      But I don’t really know.

  73. M. Kitchell

      if you find me thin-skinned you should probably spend more time hanging around htmlgiant U

  74. M. Kitchell

      if you find me thin-skinned you should probably spend more time hanging around htmlgiant U

  75. Roxane

      I’m interested in hearing how you are using Cyborg Manifesto. I’m actually teaching that text in my new media class this afternoon and I love it so much for the way it speaks to so many things, but especially postmodern identity and language. 

  76. Alex Chapman

      Why do you come here? What are you reading? I have not read any of the books on the list, and without more context I will probably not pick any of them up. But a year later when I have seen one or more of them mentioned again I will grab them. This is how I found Joshua Cohen. 

      I am pretty sure reading anything challenging contributes to my education. Not everything educational has practical applications, and I am at a point in my life where self improvement is more important than degrees. Brain plasticity and all of that.

  77. Second Guest

      Cracked lists are about the top ten moments in “Green Lantern” and dinosaurs that SHOULD’VE existed but are in fact made up, not texts that could be resourceful for someone interested in exploring American Postmodernism.

      Also, why do you care so much about this post (or every other HTMLG post to which you have responded with some sort of negativity)?

  78. gavin

      Yeah Chris, thanks for this post and your others.  Love to chat sometime about some of this stuff with you.  And in the interest of book lists, here’s mine for this this semester for a class I call Hybrid Prose:
      Pale Fire, Molloy, Cane, The Pink Institution, The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Circle K Cycles, The Rings of Saturn, There Is No Year, and Nox.

  79. Guest

      Why do you assume that all of the “guests” are the same, because they’re not.  This is the above “Guest’s” first and only post on the thread.  

      But if I may…why do you suggest this post is any better than a simple Google search using the terms, “fiction” + “postmodern”? I guess you could argue, like a hoarder of junk, that any post is useful, and if that’s your argument, you win. 

  80. Graphic Text Readings | HTMLGIANT

      […] know Christopher Higgs just posted his superb fall semester reading list, so I’m being a sort of copycat perhaps, but also, would just love to get some thoughts and […]

  81. Lilzed

      wish someone would do a post on cyborg manifesto

  82. Anonymous

      Yeah, one more, “Second Guest”…

      Why do you care so much about others’ “negativity”? See how
      easy that was?

      Are posters who typically suck-up to contributors in the
      comments usually mobbed to the same degree for their consistent, effusive praise
      and “positivity”?

      Again, see how easy that was?

      But I get that message boards and online magazines (is this
      site really a “blog,” considering its reach—perhaps this is the issue, the idea that this magazine is still considered a “blog”?) tend to favor suck-ups, bandwagoners, and people desperate to fit in 24/7, so there’s no need to respond to this post
      or ask “why are you here?” because I already know the answer to the question—“because I’m a glutton for punishment”:)

  83. Christopher Higgs

      Thanks, Gavin.  I like the diversity of voices on your list.  I’m sort of terrible at correspondence, but if you email me I’ll do my best to reply promptly — re: chatting about this stuff.  Unless you plan to be at either the MSA or ASAP conferences this fall, in which case we can have a scotch and chat face to face.   

  84. Christopher Higgs

      Yeah, I considered Irigaray.  I love that essay and the book it’s in…hell, I love all of her stuff I’ve read.  Every semester it’s a battle of what to include and what to exclude.  Maybe I’ll sneak it in! 

  85. Christopher Higgs

      Yeah, the cyborg manifesto is so great.  And you’re right it speaks to so many different things…as a grad student I think I studied it in a course on postmodernism, a course on the posthuman, and a course in feminist theory.  I’m not exactly sure yet how I’ll use it in this course.  Maybe when the time comes I’ll post something about the experience.  Would love to read a post about your experience teaching it, if the mood strikes you.  Hope you have a good semester.

  86. Jesse Hudson

      Thanks, Chris! I bought Leitch’s book a couple of days ago after randomly finding it after scanning about 20 pages of Amazon under the search results for Deconstruction. And I’ve seen clips of the Derrida documentary and intend on buying it soon. As well as Deconstruction in A Nutshell which I’ve had my eye on for a while. 
      You were immensely helpful!

  87. deadgod

      I can’t tell whether, by “strangely rhetorical”, you mean ‘rhetorical, which is normal, in an abnormal way’ or ‘rhetorical at all, which, here, is abnormal’.  I think every question that actually asks something is, still, “rhetorical”–some more normally and some more “strangely”.

      By “detonate”, I meant to partake of an image:  explosive – emotionally so – language.

      The essay talks elegantly of a scientific ethics, that of Levi-Strauss’s anthropology:  the project of studying the moral economy of an ethnos and the tribe generated by an ethos.  The essay poses the “tension[s]” between “play and history” and “play and presence”, and counterposes “two interpretations of interpretation”, one of ‘decipherment of truth and origin’ and one that ‘affirms play that eludes presence, foundation, and origin’.  Dense, sure–but the “gestation” of a monstrousity?

      The essay even talks of the apparent implausibility of deconstruction that deconstruction-debunkers who think that Derrida is stupid think they’re throwing in his unconscious face:

      [D]estructive discourses […] are trapped in a kind of circle[, which] describes the form of the relation between the history of metaphysics and the destruction of the histroy of metaphysics.  There is no sense in doing without the concepts of metaphysics in order to shake metaphysics.  We have no language –no syntax and no lexicon–which is foreign to this history; we can pronounce not a single destructive proposition which has not already had to slip into the form, the logic, and the implicit postulation of precisely what it seeks to contest.

      Let me ask again – with your figure – :  why do you think monstrosity is the “closest fit we got” to a disclosure of the undisclosable?

  88. Roxane

      I wouldn’t mind that either. I just lectured on Cyborg Manifesto today and it’s just such an amazing text–Haraway has a lot of ideas that shape how we think about race and gender in this day and age. If I can pull my notes together into something that isn’t just crazy ass notes, I will try to post about it. CM is just not a primary text in my field so I hesitate when I know Chris or Jackie or Lily could do the text more justice. 

  89. Roxane

      It’s interesting. I am teaching the text in a crosslisted undergrad/grad course on new media and writing. The first time I taught it, last fall, the students were incredibly resistant to the text. All they could see was how overwhelming and windy the text is so they didn’t want to engage in a discussion of the ideas. This semester, the students were really awesome. They were able to talk about what they got and didn’t got but more importantly, they were able to really engage with the text. One of my students asks why Haraway doesn’t account for cyborgs malfunctioning and another was interested in machines out of control. I discussed the text by also bringing in Audre Lourde, Wa Thiong’o and Achebe on language to look at how Haraway suggests we circumvent our current, inadequate language. Anyway. It went really well and was one of the most exciting class discussions I’ve ever had. I think the difference between the discussions last fall and this fall comes in part with how I framed the text. Students definitely need some explication to break down some of the intimidation they feel. 

  90. another guest

      HTML U-

      Promote Self 101
      White Boys Talking Rap 101
      Promote Friends 101
      MFA Program Speaketh 101
      Tao Lin 512

  91. deadgod

      Here’s my fall schedule:

      Hassle Phonies Indep Study
      Trade Barbs with People Who Think I’m a Phony Indep Study
      Make Comments That Seem Longer Than They Are Indep Study
      Make Pithy Comments/Poems Predicably ‘Absurd’ Indep Study

      I’m also continuing my ‘work’ in:

      Mistake Intentions and Behave Untoward Special Topics

      I’m planning on beginning thesis research the same semester I cash my 10,000th Social Security check.

  92. Guest

      on this site, guest is like anonymous the hacker group, sort of annoying and hard to understand but waaaaaaay less pretentious than those in power. 

  93. marshall

      they jus sleepy eyes

  94. Laura Carter

      Great list, Chris! I loved Jameson so many times in the past, a way of thinking dialectically about what modern/postmodern means…. And hooks is of course best for so many reasons, etc.

      Wish I could be in the class—I’m actually taking “Beckett, Bersani, Badiou” but may cull from this for thoughts about how to blend modern/postmodern into a paper! Hope your semester goes well.


  95. another guest


  96. alan

      Amy Ziering is the daughter of my old Hebrew teacher.

  97. Slightlylesssnarkyguest

      Are you also reviewing a “staple-bound” chapbook?

  98. Char

      Shut the fuck up!

  99. Lilzed

      uh. . . don’t. i don’t know any of you. your post will prolly rock.

  100. jtc

      Strangely in that I don’t think you intended to ask a rhetorical question, but you did. That’s how it felt. Also, strangely, because it made me think maybe I was misunderstanding you/missing something.

      It just is. I know that answer sucks. I don’t know if there is an answer beyond it, though. What do you call that thing in the night, in the shadows, the menacing thing you know IS but know nothing more?

      Kind of like Freddy Krueger’s last name, ‘Innkeeper, from the Middle Low German “kroger” or “kruger,” meaning host.’ A place of welcoming, of rest, turned on its head. No. Not like that. But, that came to mind.

      I don’t think that “monstrosity” is the closest fit in the sense that it actually fits (in some metaphysical sense of naming) for the thing being named, that it is its somehow true and ideal name. Rather, I think it’s the closest fit in the sense that, on a cultural, maybe biological level, the word satisfies us, feels appropriate to call the thing named that.

      Does that make sense? Or at least allow you to tell me whether I’m misunderstanding you?

  101. Lilzed

      that is a really random jab at SS

      by the way, if there is anyone in their sixties on this webpage, please feel most welcome here

  102. mimi

      i’m majoring in Aesthetics of Decency and minoring in Esoteric Non-Sequitor

      strange straw i know but i really dig your work

      do you need an intern?

  103. Tummler

      LOL 101 (Taught by Jimmy Chen)

      There Is No Limit: What to Do with Blake Butler’s Scorch Atlas besides Reading It (Co-taught by M. Kitchell and Sean Lovelace; Guest “Cooking” Presentation by the Author Himself and Based God)

      Experimental Literature 101 – Infinity (Taught by Christopher Higgs)

  104. Guesty

      lol @ ‘in power’

      htmlG is closer to being ‘in estress’ than ‘in power’ of just about anything.

  105. deadgod

      It wasn’t a “rhetorical question”, in the sense that ‘mere sensation’ would be the only acceptable or even appropriate answer.  It’s a real and reasonable question:  what’s the effect of Derrida turning to monstrosity to indicate the “thing you know IS but know nothing more”?

      Whether that ‘it just is’ is a sucky response to ‘what indication would suit the paradox of indicating the ineffable?’, you’ve gone a (small) step farther:  menacing.  Others might choose ‘tantalizing’ (you know the story of Tantalus?), or ‘elusive’, or ‘mystical’, or even – contrarily to you – ‘soothing’. 

      –all both appropriate and appropriately inadequate, as it were.

      Another way to ask the question is:  what does it say that “monstrosity” is appropriate?

  106. deadgod

      jesus christ I bet your life is terrible

  107. deadgod

      Seriously, I agree with you, this comment was certainly not at all interesting.  I’m sure no one cares.  In fact, I’m embarrassed for posting it.  You have really put egg on my face.  Thanks for your thoughtful comment!  –and thanks for your input.  I’ll keep it under advisement.  Really thoughtful stuff.  If I had known beforehand what would and wouldn’t cut the mustard, I’d certainly have rethought this comment.  Now I know. Thanks!

  108. deadgod

      no chief that’s a rilly rilly directed deprecation of my academic ambitions/talents

  109. deadgod

      you’re a peach

      a funner major might be Aesthetics of Formlessness – all evaluated on an F/F plummet, but the pre-afterparty is epickal

      I need an intard to help me with self-sufficiency

  110. Lilzed

      So you mistook my purposely naive friendliness as sarcasm. What can you do.

  111. Lilzed

      okay at least we are learning slang from this guy

  112. HTMLGiantAdvertisingDept

      Great post.  Please get in touch with us. 

  113. deadgod

      Hm.  Is it possible to be – and not to seem-but-not-to-be – “naive” on purpose?  I think naivety is never purposefully “naive”–that calculation would rule out that characteristic, no?  I didn’t take “random jab at SS” as either “friendl[y]” or “sarcas[tic]” – though I guess it could have been either or even both – , just as an inaccuracy.  ??

  114. deadgod

      who is we

      is there a replier and a typist or voice-activator operator, or are these disparate actions collectively performed at ‘your’ end, or are ‘you’ high up in a royal family

  115. Doomsday Fiction Reading List « Salvatore Pane

      […] communication class–and I thought, like last semester, that I’d share my reading list. Christopher Higgs just posted his over at HTMLGIANT, and I wish more people would. I’m always interested in seeing what exactly teachers are […]

  116. deadgod

      it might be more expedient to have that conversation face-to-face

  117. HTMLGiantAdvertisingDept

      Yes, we also take walk-ins and will provide knee-pads. 

  118. marshall

      anywon no ware i kan downlowd sum drake instromentals?

  119. guest2

      guest sucks

  120. Guesticle

      Wow, you guests. For people who claim to hate this place so much, you sure do spend a lot of time hanging around, taking what you claim ain’t worth much. It seems like this might be a manifestation of self-loathing? 

      If you find this blog lacking, why not start your own, and speak to people you respect instead of coming here and wallowing in what troubles you?

  121. another guest

      yes. i wish i could be more like you. take time to comment on every post and such ;)

  122. deadgod

      it is in just that way and it is just in that way that you are “like” me princess

  123. Lilzed

      I think I misread your comment, is what happened. Sorry :0

  124. deadgod

      oh that is a specialty of mine

      see I’ve exhausted all the department’s courses and am reduced/elevated to doing ‘research’ on my own

  125. Simon

      I guess I’m square–I’d much rather read “easy” writers like DeLillo and Co.–this sounds like a class in retro jargon, circa 1986.  The poetry antho is sweet.

  126. Werdfert

      what comes after postmodernism?

  127. "I'm Guestacus!"


      i thought i’d let everyone know that i’ve been banned from this site, i assume for the comments i left on this thread. i wasn’t given a reason, no warning whatsoever, just an automated notice from disqus: ‘sorry you’ve been banned from posting new comments on this site.’

      i can’t help but wonder what the arts scene in 1920s paris would’ve turned out like if the dadaists had been physically prevented from occupying space in the same cafes favored by the droll modernists and whoever came before them.

      i assume, lacking a shred of genuine spontaneity in their discussions, they would’ve debated for hours about nothing important in particular to anyone outside of themselves, and history would’ve swallowed them up, left them in oblivious obscurity, their few meager dozen or so pairs of ears ringing so loud in their echo chamber, they likely would have never noticed the difference.

      oh well. wish i could say it’s been fun.








  131. mimi

      ZZZZZIPPP + deadgod / HTMLGIANT = ? ? 

      hi zippy, if that’s the same you
      ( is that the same you ? ? )
      ( it’s the same me )

  132. deadgod


  133. Guestagain

      something contemporary? neo post-modern?



  135. mimi

      damn temporal vortices!