March 29th, 2012 / 4:43 pm
Random

Literature Flowchart

The four main writers merely act as barriers between which a lot of exciting stuff happened and do not serve to preclude, only maintain, discourse — though rather auspiciously placed, as both pairings represent their respective vastly different approaches in writing, however within the same social contexts and under similar preoccupations. Much of the chart, hopefully, is self-explanatory; I will only mention how Faulkner brought Joyce’s “high modernism” from Europe to the States (as Pollock did, or was delegated to do, with painting), and to the South, of all places. I’ve always found this moment very important in literary history. One wonders what would have happened without that. It was also difficult to link Joyce as coming from anything, other than loosely to Flaubert, due to the latter’s incipient play and self-consciousness with language. Hemingway also does this odd straddling thing: he wrote existential novels in the context of American social realism, and much of it war. As simple as his books — or at least sentences — were, he was a very complicated writer. Most of the others fit somewhat easily among their contemporaries.

Addendum in Response to Commentary Concerning the Canon, and Other Qualms

This is being written the day after this post was first published, in a way that is both emotionally petty i.e. defensive, but more so, verily, out of a sense of responsibility, as my hand has been again led into the fervent political waters which many of our more dissenting readership, perhaps in need of a jacuzzi, like going. When I made the graph, I knew it only represented the mainly White Male canon, and that our more educated (though a quick wikipedia search will explain it perfectly well) would undoubtedly mention it in a kind of impulse which sustains — but never attempts or wants to resolve — the ongoing grad school-y argument over [whatever the current word for bad is e.g. “power,” “patriarchy,” “canonical”] vs. [whatever the current word for good is e.g. “the other,” “minority,” “queer,” “post-{something}”], and no matter what disclaimers, caveats, or preemptive apologies this contributor would propose in this post’s very explicit text, pale angry people with most likely more than one cat and degree would serve me with: (1) a list of authors they felt were unfairly omitted, with implications of my being coerced; (2) an open, or at least implied, call for an apology for not having a more inclusive chart, or having a literary orientation different from them; and (3) an attack on the very medium with which this post is conveyed, namely, a blog on the internet, with allusions to a collective truncated attention span or learning. I will now address each concern.

1. I think we all commodify the very authors we ostensibly herald or even defend by naming, and thus consuming, them in the same manner one would name a band, or restaurant, or movie, or city, or any pairing of letters which embody cultural merit or experience, because, really, we are collecting marbles. This is an issue of class, of who is entitled to what names. Those who shun the canon are in socioeconomic collusion with them; that is, to name “the other,” regardless if one is, points to a precedent of educational privilege. This is an imperialist impulse, so I understand. Still, the romantic part of me thinks it’s endearing how we honor our love for someone by naming them, by placing them in our hearts, as I do Joyce, or you Didion, or you [some name I never heard of and can’t pronounce]. I feel better now.

2. I will not apologize for my non-inclusive list. This website’s width is 600 pixels, and I wanted the font to be legible, so you can imagine my constraints. I’m sorry I did not name every author in existence, a list exhaustive enough to exhaust some exhausting people. I will admit, however, that there is something counter-intuitive about naming off the canon on a website which offers itself as subversive — but more than that, this website is about not giving a fuck, so in honoring that, I don’t give a fuck. There are many, many socially more responsible and pensive literary websites you can go to and be politically, socially, and aesthetically well-adjusted with. If you come here, you will find me being incorrect in some way. Always. That is my loyalty to this place, and myself.

3. When a person with austere taste goes online and contributes to the very noise he seems so somberly subdued by, he is legitimizing that medium’s power. I made someone in a cabin sans wifi/wife embalmed by a fireplace put a bookmark inside War and Peace, walk 4 miles along the thawing snow to the public library, and type in a comment which included European last names. Come over more often, we are insane.

I first thought Noam Chomsky was a woman, maybe because of the soft vowels in his first name, or because I found, and still do, his linguistic approach to be gentle, considerate, and receptive. These are great qualities in writing, which I generally attribute to women, who often make better writers, but historically were not given an equal chance to write and publish due to a complex set of institutional matters. See? That wasn’t so hard. During college, in a damp seminar room which exuded patience, I kept referred to him as “she,” and the (this was some political theory class, in UC Santa Cruz) feministy T.A. sort of looked at me with huge grateful eyes, like I single-handedly had done what her Ph.D. was trying to do. They were almost watery, verging on the warm version of the cold mindless rain tapping from above. My ignorance was both endearing and politically convenient. Race and Gender are rent-a-cops at the mall dressed in authority. They are unreal, like you and me. I want to go back to that seminar room, of half-empty water bottles occasionally chugged out of pure boredom in front of a tearful grad student and tuitions being burnt after some prior weed. “If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion,” she said. One day someone will write a great nasty book again. “Okay,” I replied.

116 Comments

  1. Anonymous

      Left out feminist.  

  2. Nick Mamatas

      This is my favorite so far.

  3. Harry Giles

      Is it somehow gauche to complain about the cultural limitations of these pseudo-infographics? Is it wrong to point out what should be obvious? I don’t understand how you can let yourself get away with something so male-centric and in so many ways so blandly canonical. It is very difficult to say anything particularly interesting (or even funny) when adhering so closely to an inherited canon.

  4. Jonathan Callahan

      Like this, Jimmy.
      JC

  5. Bobby Dixon

      I think one of the implications w/ this infograph is that the inherited canon is culturally limiting. 

  6. Jimmy Chen

      i find this comment depressing. i spent ~5-6 hrs. on this chart, feeling high levels of interest and excitement, and not really thinking about the limiting ‘patriarchal canon,’ because i feel that people who point out stuff like that — people who turn things into arguments, who essentially like to shit on other people’s earnest and honest efforts — are less committed to their supposed social critique and progressiveness than simply sounding educated and rebellious, like they are independent thinkers. it’s depressing because through your critique of my redundancy, you have promoted another form of redundancy, its supposed alternative, but essentially mirror image. in short, your reaction to this chart is just as boring as the canon which incites it. it is people like you which make me weary of investing the time i do in these things, because no matter how much love i put in, your arrogance veiled as concern will make it all feel gross.

  7. Ben Roylance

      These are so fun to look at and think about. Thanks. 

  8. 'Guillaume Morissette'

      this is sweet, I kept imagining myself zooming in to see more details, like a more precise breakdown of the ‘war’ category or something, kind of like in sim city where the default view is the town but then you can zoom in to view the street level and individual buildings.

  9. Anonymous

      It’s depressing that you actually wasted 5-6 hours of your life creating yet ANOTHER McSweeney’s-style pie/flow/whatever-chart. Bonus points for the single-quotation marks and use of “earnest” above. Whenever I check this site now, there’s always some tired pie chart or graph by you, an inane question by Blake Butler like, “when was the last time you hurled on yourself?,” and Christopher Higgs talking to himself about “experimental literature” alongside a bunch of Youtube videos of yawning babies and geese migrations.

  10. lorian long

      i guess yr answer to blake’s question would be ’14 minutes ago’

  11. Jimmy Chen

      i’m totally not making this up: immediately after i read your comment, ‘suedehead’ started playing on spotify from my ‘brit rock’ playlist. this is relevant because i’m so sorry…

  12. Anonymous

      We get it–you love Jimmy. “When was the last time you tasted his ass”? Yr answer: ‘7 minutes ago.’

  13. marshall mallicoat

       ask kobe how my ass taste

  14. Jimmy Chen

       i’m sorry, lorian doesn’t like chinese food

  15. lorian long

      jimmy would never let me taste his ass

  16. Kyle Callert

      this is good.

  17. Rito Maxtla

      This makes me think about the many writers I haven’t read yet :(( More than half!

  18. mimi

       want to call you “lo lo”

  19. Scott

       yeah, i like this.

  20. Scott

       yeah, i like this.

  21. deadgod

      Flaubert – in his concern with le bon mot et juste – is usefully linked to Joyce, but so would Ibsen and Dujardin be.  (Not sure how you’d fix them provisionally in this array.) 

      As I understand things, both Fitzgerald and Hemingway “brought Joyce[ …] from Europe”, especially the Joyce of Dubliners but also of Portrait and even Ulysses, before Faulkner was able to.  I’d call “high modernism”, even of only Joyce’s type, a, what, re-import by Eliot and Pound before most American new-stuff readers were especially aware of Joyce (but perhaps you’d rather exclude consideration of poetry).  Eliot, especially notably, was talking of Joyce’s ‘mythic method’ in publications a Greenwich Villager, at least, would have seen long before there was any Faulkner to read.

      I’d suggest a bigger role for Beckett – say, as much an oval as Kafka. 

      I see several Frenchies, but no Proust; let me call that a mistake. 

      I also see a handful of Chermans; let me recommend Broch, who deserves at least as much attention as Gaddis.

      Both Fyododo and Nietzsche feeding “Existentialism”, but surely not the formaldehyder leading to the ladder! – and maybe add the provocations of Kierkegaard, whom the ‘descendants’ knew.

      Unhappily, in this case, I think I agree with your gendeterminist critics.

      If, by “Woolfe”, you mean ‘(Thomas) Wolfe’, he was a North Carolinan – a southerner.  (If you mean ‘(Tom) Wolfe’, never mind, except, do you think Tom’s fiction belongs anywhere near 7/8ths of this array?)

      That’s fun; thanks.

  22. Chris Stokes

      HOW DO YOU LET YOURSELF GET AWAY WITH THIS JIMMY? YOU ARE A SCOUNDREL

  23. Jimmy Chen

      i feel that one day browsers will be able to do this with weird animated .gifs, that will be sweet

  24. Anonymous

       sry liked by accident

  25. Jimmy Chen

      a lot of joyce’s orbiters would not be happy, except beckett, hehe. irl i feel virginia woolf would be too depressed to care. i didn’t know about sterne, so thank you for making me interested and wanting to learn about that. i like mix-tapes. the penultimate song is always slow and sad, like the mixer complicatedly asking someone out on a date

  26. Anonymous

       except the word “literature” does not = “canon”

  27. Jimmy Chen

      i guess with faulkner (rather than fitz or hemingway) i meant his formalism (esp. alinear time and perspective) seemed more joycian than our parenthetical two, and notable abt him was the southern context. i thought about proust, but flaubert fit that role better, especially in tying it to tolstoy in terms of civic awareness, whereas proust seemed in another sleepy/sleepless world. and i meant tom wolfe (srry for typo); while the chart implies chronology, it is not hindered by that

  28. Anonymous

      Audre Lorde
      Alice Walker
      Toni Morrison

      select all, copy, drag, paste, republish

      was that so hard?

      is it so hard?

      hard for a sourpuss?

  29. M. Kitchell

      i’ve found, throughout my short life, that complaining about things is really useless and changes nothing. 
      it’s really easy to bootleg photoshop, perhaps you should start making infographics that “solve all these problems.” i bet if you emailed them to idk basically any of the contributors here they’d be more than glad to post them as a guest post.

  30. M. Kitchell

      also sorry if that reply sounded bitchy i actually mean it sincerely, like if you want something to change do it yourself the world is totally stupid and you can’t expect everybody else to do what you want them to

  31. Harry Giles

      OK, so from the reasoned debate perspective, I find your argument frustrating, because you’re not arguing with me, you’re arguing with your perception of “people like me”. As in, you’re not engaging with what I’m saying, you’re trying to meta me, trying to take the argument to an argument about arguments. I’d rather not go to that level, because I’m more interested in the problem of the inherited canon in the first place, and why you’re choosing to reproduce it. Why?

      One of the reasons I wanted to comment this time is because I caught the line at the end of your plot on tone: “Though if someone mentions the disproportionate ratio of female to male
      authors, I will be first be embarrassed, then saddened.”  I didn’t understand what you meant by “To not see the message in order to present one is often the failure of words.” It made me feel bad that my first reaction was, “Holy shit that’s a lot of men for a contemporary litblog”. I kind of resented your superior tone — ‘I don’t have to worry about the patriarchy because I’m talking about something bigger’ — and felt the need to be defensive and make the point. You don’t get to dodge the problematic like that. It is seriously problematic to repeatedly reproduce a male-centric canon. I’d hoped that was more widely understood. I really, really don’t see how pointin this out is “redundant”. In fact, your defensiveness, your attempt to shut down that discussion before it’s begun, your recourse to ‘I put a lot of work into this, so how can it be / how dare you point out that it is problematic!’, and the very way you think that you don’t have to think about the limiting patriarchal canaon — all this makes it very clear that I’m not being redundant.

      I don’t get your love argument either. I put love into my writing too. I put love into fighting the patriarchy. Lots of us do. Is this move an attempt to brand me (or any timorous [pro]feminist?) a troll, to make me less emotionally authentic than yourself, and therefore unnecessary to engage with? It seems so. Which smacks of cowardice, really. Isn’t one of the things writers have to do over and over expose the work they love to criticism?

  32. Harry Giles

       Last point: I realise on posting this that, as I’ve said, one of the reasons I felt moved to comment in the first place was that I resented your superiority in your previous chart post. And your reply to me is all about superiority. So how about we don’t worry about who’s presenting as superior to whom (because that’s always going to be a subtext in any argument) and actualy engage with the material of the discussion?

  33. Anonymous

      Pretty much in agreement with Harry re: the boring repetition of a male-centric canon presented as the entirety of ‘literature’ … so just posting now to register my complaint about the repetition (by implication, anyway) of the same tired old stereotype of US Southerners as poor, benighted, cultureless simpletons. (As in “to the South, of all places.”)

  34. Anonymous

      This is really a beautiful representation of the deep, deep problems of book blog culture, which essentially involves repeating “DFW” and “Franzen” over and over and then inserting at random intervals, to prove one’s international leanings, either “Bolaño,” “Walser,” or “Bernhard.”

      And at a purely visual level this is a laughable distortion of reality. That one actually pretty talented essayist (David Foster Wallace) and an at best second-rate novelist (Franzen) get represented as being equivalent to Dostoevsky and Tolstoy (and implicitly more influential than, say, Proust, who’s not even *mentioned*) reminds me of why, instead of reading about books online, I just read the blinking books themselves.

  35. Anonymous

      It’s difficult to find a more tedious subject to whine about than someone else’s failure to list a politically correct group of authors. Yes, the membership of the canon fails to meet most any affirmative action policy. Whoopity-fuck. 

      Perhaps no one cares to engage the subject because it’s a bore. It might not seem very probable to you, but I think you should consider the possibility.

      Also, bonus points for your non-ironic use of ‘patriarchy’.

  36. Anonymous

      did we notice the similar in that B*tches in Bookshops video? idk, when you want easy referents, you go to the canon.

  37. Anonymous

      Or, more to the point you should be making, Harry Giles: the author’s rebuttal was more about his hurt feelings and damaged ego, than it was about rebutting your actual arguments.

      He complained about “you” as a social group, who attacks his work. Whiny. Insecure. Not a convincing argument that you are in any way *wrong*, just that you’ve managed to prick him to bleeding.

      Jimmy Chen, man up and either (1) admit your graphic should have been more inclusive, or (2) explain exactly why it’s correct as it stands.

  38. Anonymous

      I’m seen this logic in many places: a person expressing dissent suddenly becomes a hypocrite or mere “complainer” because their speech is not coupled with action.

      Not totally sure what it’s about, seems related to the cheapness of words combined with the permissiveness of the internet.

      You also totally misunderstand the grievances at stake here, framing opposition to this post as “a desire to radically re-imagine the canon.” That’s not what’s going on at all.

  39. Anonymous

      This post is, like, totally stupid, and I actually mean that to sound bitchy.

  40. Anonymous

       This is like the “double negative” that shores up so-called open free speech.

      “NO ONE is STOPPING you from making the infographic / compiling the anthology / starting the lit site that representing your perspective, so what’s to be dissatisfied with?” This is not a fucking billboard campaign, the real estate is different. And why would I spend my time essentially editing an infographic someone else made, when I could be using that time to make my own art? My edit couldn’t have been MORE simple and the fact you are defending Chen in advance shows you already acquiesce with his shocking omissions. OR “giving in” out of EXHAUSTION.

      Interrogate the source of this fatigue!

      Triply amazing, not a single line connects Gertrude Stein to Hemingway, though he was her literary student and heir.

  41. M. Kitchell

      hi
      i don’t know if you’ve noticed but approximately 2/3rds of my posts on htmlgiant are basically about a desire to radically re-imagine the canon. i get as many comments from str8-white-privileged-dudes telling me i’m a terrible person as as jimmy gets from women and feminists telling him he’s a terrible person

      speech is a very active force, and obviously i believe that

      but you seem to also misunderstand my response, because nowhere do i imply that you are “a hypocrite or mere ‘complainer'” because all you’re doing is typing a comment.  

      i’m simply suggesting the obvious– why are you wasting the energy airing grievances in the comment thread here, which is basically, as jimmy himself points out in a comment above, what a whole shitload of people do every time he makes a post. 

      jimmy is not going to post something that radically re-imagines the canon. i don’t think jimmy has any interest in doing that.  complaining here is not using language efficiently–not because it is language not coupled with action, but because the comment section of htmlgiant is such a dead void of entropy within the larger realm of the internet.  all commenting here, with such intensity does, is not display a person “desire to radically re-imagine the canon,” it posits your desire for Jimmy Chen personally to radically re-imagine the canon.  

      I mean, ok, let’s say that finally Jimmy caves to all the bitchy comments about him being a misogynist and “quits HTMLGiant”– do you consider that a step in the right direction of radically re-imagining the canon?  I don’t.  I understand the idea– if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem, but this sort of militant “destroy everyone who is against us” is imperialistic.  

      The dominant literary canon is boring. People are starting to realize that. But the thing is, would the addition of 3 black women-bodied authors instantly change that?  No, it would still be boring but now it would feature the inclusion of three token accessible marginal authors.  There is nothing inherently radical about the writing of the three authors you listed–the weird thing about anti-dominant discourse on the internet is that often the proponents seem to stop seeing the forest for the trees & focus on the artist/the film-maker/the author’s quantifiable data instead of anything about their aesthetics or contents.

      The response to many of these posts is the whole bullshit of “I don’t judge by skin color, I judge by how good the writing is,” and of course the problem with this is that the dominant mode of what’s considered “good writing” at this point in the world is a mode of writing favorite by straight rich white men, and that is the problem with the canon.  This is why I posted my essay on anti-phallocentrism:  fighting the patriarchy/the hegemon is not about statistics, it’s about, oh, let’s use the word “subversion.” A Latino poor feminist lesbian woman (for example) writing in the discourse of the straight white rich man making it onto the canon does not radically re-imagine the canon, it affirms the hyper-presence of the straight white rich male discourse that pervades the canon.  

  42. M. Kitchell

      please see response below.

  43. M. Kitchell

      the past is a pretty cool place huh

  44. Anonymous

      So, in other words, Lilzed, when M. Kitchell publishes a post on a site with little to no editorial standards under the moniker of “contributor,” or, “Impossible Mike,” he’s actually doing something. When you post a comment in the comment stream, you are wasting your time. If you want to change the world, please submit your comments from now on to this site’s “editors” so they can be posted as “guest posts.”

  45. M. Kitchell

      also, why are we still trying so hard to change the canon? why are we not trying to insist that the canon, which is basically a collected idea that a narrow group of books can paint a single dominant narrative for “all of society,” is a destructive idea?

  46. M. Kitchell

      did you like, stop at the first paragraph just because you wanted to exert some self-righteous anger again? or did you instead just decide to ignore the totality of my comment and forget than any words beyond the first paragraph exist

  47. Johnnie Wilcox

      Who the fuck is WOOLFE?

  48. C. Rogers

      I guess the thing I’m most curious about here is what seems like the omission of the development of the novel— there’s a token nod to Cervantes, but then it seems like it skips most of the 18th century when the novel was really coming into its own force. Which also was when women and women’s narratives were highly, highly influential upon the development of the novel (Richardson, Burney, Austen, and then the counter-action of Fielding and those he influenced). Not to mention the intrusion of the Gothic, which from the beginning (Radcliffe and The Mysteries of Udolpho) was deeply ambivalent about its own genre and elements of that leaked into other texts. Elements of the Gothic certainly can be linked to Melville and O’Connor, just to throw two out there. 

      And then there are other omissions, too, that really puzzle me— I don’t care much for Dickens but it seems difficult to have a conversation about literature without mentioning him. Social realism, too, evokes Gaskell, who made some fascinating moves in her work. And where is Eliot? I realize that it’s less fashionable to talk about Victorians, but to exclude them from a picture of literature creates an enormous gap. While this is of course your project, I’d be interested in hearing about why these omissions. I also agree with the point about Sterne and Joyce. It seems almost impossible to have a conversation about experimental literature without talking about Tristram Shandy. 

      But what this really demonstrates is the impossibility of a flowchart and the difficulties of having hierarchies among writers. I actually like the idea of this very much, but the way it’s implemented is raising a lot of questions for me (beyond the ones that have already been raised about the canon). The Joyce cluster seems to impose that false order in particular. Woolf, who notably did not care much for Ulysses, was working alongside Joyce rather then being influenced by him, while Stein, while certainly influenced by Joyce— (what I think is) her most interesting work, Tender Buttons, was influenced primarily by cubism. 

  49. Anonymous

      Nope, pretty sure I read your entire post. What am I being self-righteous about? You’re essentially asking a commenter to play by a separate set of rules than a beknighted “contributor.” If I wanted to be purposely self-righteous, I would take issue with your example (that I can read alongside your posting, sorry, I mean, “contributing history”) suggesting that a “poor black lesbian” writer writes in some sort of primitive discourse, or that literature isn’t filled with examples of subversive minorities writing in discourses you assume to be “straight white male.”

  50. Harry Giles

      Has it occurred to anyone complaining about complainers that the reason we keep complaining about presentations of a hegemonic canon is that such presentations continue to be hegemonic? And that the frustration of enncountering this over and over again occasionally merits a futile “fuck off and widen your reading”? That it’s important to point out instances of hegemony  when they occur, that this is part of raising consciousness, an element in a wider programme of resistance? That for people to roll their eyebrows and say “oh, god, not the feminists again” is, however couched in the language of undeserved knowingness and self-conscious irony, basically indistinguishable from the kind of patronising patriarchal response feminism has met from day one?

      I’m kind of horrified that people would use “patriarchy” ironically. I’m British, and I can’t even begin to fathom the depths of archness that that would take. Much of what I’m saying here is: it’s real, it persists, it has to be earnestly challenged through words and actions until it falls.

  51. Harry Giles

      I like this comment because, beyond the politics, it highlights the literary/historical significance of what narrowly canonical flowcharts actually do. And it’s helping me understand the shape of what this newly hegemonic “bookblog canon” is and does.

  52. Bobby Dixon

      Maybe he’s also saying don’t be such a fucking grumpy gus. 

      I too am guilty of complaining about things on this site that annoyed or aggravated me. It’s pointless. I’d rather tweet a period fifty seven times, at least then it would be cataloged in the LOC w/ my name attributed to it. 

      You have the right to air your dissent re the content of this site, you also have the right to anonymity. 

  53. Bobby Dixon

      You forgot to mention how much alt lit really shreds. 

  54. Harry Giles

      A sort of reply to
      Jimmy’s sort of reply:I don’t really get the culture of this
      site. I think I am too earnest, maybe also too angry. But that’s OK.
      I don’t like 4chan either, and this site is basically the literary
      version of /b/. The polysyllabic variations on “lol, u mad??”
      are fun, I suppose. I come back because I often find out about newly
      interesting things. I also like participating on conversations, which
      is why I find the “lol, u mad??” impulse so frustrating,
      and its elder brother, the “I’ve thought all you’ve thought
      before and it’s so last year, so me five years ago, and I’m going to
      make an arch meta-response instead”, even more so. Which is why
      I like your addendum: despite the defensiveness (and why not take it
      out rather than half-acknowledge it? — it would make more
      interesting reading), there’s earnest engagement here.You
      reason 3 I see some people fit into, but not me, so I’ll ignore it
      here. The others are more interesting.1. I didn’t provide a
      list, but I suppose I could have done. The purpose would not, I don’t
      think, be to win cultural points by claiming the “other”,
      though of course people do that. It would be to point out in what
      interesting ways your personal canon is limited (like C Jones just
      did), and why it is politically problematic. It is politically
      problematic to have a white- male- American-centric presentation of
      literature: it reproduces and reinforces hegemonic power, and that is
      a problem. (I will be earnest: the patriarchy is not a grad school
      problem, it is a living daily problem for all, yea, even in
      literature, and that is why I am earnest about it.) It is also
      difficult to say new things about literature, even with a flowchart,
      when reproducing a hegemonic canon. The most interesting new things
      usually get said through resistance, opposition, and the exploration
      of ignored territories. This sometimes comes from a colonising
      impulse in the powerful, sometimes from an impulse to belong in the
      powerless, and sometimes from a position of solidarity and
      understanding.2. Apologies are worthless; I don’t want them.
      I want explanations and explorations. It ought to seem really weird
      to reproduce a hegemonic canon in a politically conscious space
      (which this cannot avoid being, whatever nonfuck presentation it
      gives), and that ought to be challenged. I began by asking you to
      justify yourself, really, because any justification for such a
      reproduction might actually be interesting. Certainly more
      interesting than the reproduction itself. There is more vibrant
      commentary in your addendum than in your flowchart.

      I’m also going to
      rehearse another old debate. There are two positions of resistance
      vis-a-vis the canon: to demand more diverse inclusion in it, and to
      strike down the idea of canon itself. I obviously side more with the
      latter. So I wouldn’t ask you to add more or more different to your
      flowchart. I do think your flowchart as it is is a reinforcement of
      power that says little new, and that you might find more exciting
      things to make diagrams about with a more diverse collection of
      marbles.

      Take care.

  55. Bobby Dixon

      How do you, as a White male British Imperialist, plan on using poetry to defeat hegemony? 
      I am not trying to be totally horrible, but are you talking about using art (whatever medium) to combat hegemony in a measured and calculable way? I’m not saying one shouldn’t try to do that or that one cannot do that, but I am just trying to pin down your point.

  56. Bobby Dixon

      lol Jimmy Chen is status quo 

  57. deadgod

      ‘Yes’ to the multiplicity of perspective having been more, eh, transmitted (to America/readers of ‘American literature’) by Joyce through Faulkner.  The seed of Ulyssses in Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises is less, though not not, formally fructive.  “Alinear time” isn’t quite true of the communication between past and present in Portrait or Ulysses, though.

      Proust is difficult for a sense of the centrality of Joyce — more of a co-orginator or co-bridger — maybe sea-currents underside the winds in a storm.  There is plenty of ‘Paris’, of class and money and work and so on, in Proust.  As far as “civic awareness”, do consider Ibsen alongside Tolstoy as a 19th c. nourisher of Joyce.

      Tom Wolfe is a Virginian – as the ice-cream-suited “dandy” [??] act discloses.  “Chronology” wasn’t my point, but rather:

      I dont.  I dont!  I dont hate it!  I dont hate it!

      By the way, your Addendum is fine.  I would say, though, that when people scamper in to voice their identity concerns, or simply to quit petting their cats for long enough to quarrel with this aspect or that, it’s the way of doing what you do with your posts that’s done on a thread.  A response other than ‘love love love heart heart heart glow glow glow’ isn’t necessarily an attack!  I do like your addendum as a response to anti-“patriarchy” attacks.  I also see the point of challenging canon-formation.  Having things every way is like that ha ha.

      –and let me add that there’s nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with being defensive.  Being defensive in a somewhat-to-mostly hostile world isn’t necessarily untruthful or unkind or any other Bad Thing.

  58. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Reading through these comments, I think the one issue that trumps all other issues is the failure to effectively communicate.

      Initial comments posted criticizing Mr. Chen’s project are mean-spirited. Mean-spirited comments beget ire, not beneficial dialogue-words between two persons. Ire clouds the mind, makes people conflate “making a point” with “making a fool of someone,” the former being more desirous and beneficial to everyone, audience included.

      I am not one to hide my guilt at having done similar things in the past — written mean-spirited comments — but I know it’s the wrong way to Figure Shit Out.

      So, you know, if you’re actually interested in conversation, might be best to, as a writer, communicate in a way that doesn’t make everything feel like an attack, because you’re a writer, it shouldn’t be hard to do that.

      Idunno.

  59. Don

      The kind of racial essentialism you peddle in the end of your comment is horrible. There is not ‘black’ writing and ‘white’ writing. In your schema, would canonical black writers like Ellison or Baldwin be in ‘the discourse of the straight white rich man’? They write in standard written English, afterall.
      I agree with the classical civial rights attitude: race is
      something that is used to defeat the humanity of people. It is an
      emptiness in itself and something that is used against human beings. There is no spiritual/artistic ‘core’ of blackness. The concept of race is less than 300 years old and needs to be done away with entirely.

  60. Harry Giles

      I’ll just start by saying that I’m not going to parade my identity and the ways in which am privileged and the ways in which I am oppressed, because in that game everyone loses.

      But to answer you fairly:
      a) definitely not in a measured and calculable way, I do not think that is possible
      b) but yes in a vibrant and spontaneous way
      c) words *and* actions
      d) when you engage in resistance, it cannot help but imbue your art, and you cannot help but make your art part of it
      e) let’s start with all the things people have said in the obituaries of Adrienne Rich and move on from there?
      f) cf. Judith Malina and the Living Theatre, Negritude, the Guerilla Girls, the UK’s “Laboratory of the Insurrectionary Imagination”, Cardboard Citizens and other contemporary uses of Augusto Boal, Darren O’Donnell’s “Social Acupuncture”, Nic Green’s “Trilogy” and other work, Gertrude Gonzalez’s “Cultural Activisms”, and so on.

  61. Don

      I defend the idea of a canon, at least in philosophy. I think the canon of the Mediterranean philosophical tradition (from pre/post-Socratic Greece to the Roman Empire to Jerusalem and Babylon to Medieval N. Africa and Middle East to Continental Europe [roughly, the traditions of Athens and Jerusalem]) is the highpoint of human intellectual achievement, and if one wishes to study philosophy one ought to begin there.

      Almost all the works in the Mediterranean philosophical canon predate things like race, imperialism, and colonialism by many centuries (and in any case are not all or even mostly ‘European’), so the attempt to dismiss the canon as ‘rich white straight men’ is ridiculous. However, the canon is predominantly, if not almost entirely or entirely, male. There’s no way around that. Women were not allowed to write or do philosophy in Ancient Athens. We have to read with that understanding, but it doesn’t change the fact that Plato is the cornerstone of what we understand to be philosophy.

  62. Don

      “i’ve found, throughout my short life, that complaining about things is really useless and changes nothing.”

      This is an odd thing to say considering most of your writing on this website includes a lot of “complaining” (if critique and criticism are now called that).

  63. Anonymous

      Amen. And he’s been peddling this sort of essentialism in his posts for
      quite some time. I’m sure he’ll write a 5,000 word reply in lowercase
      with thirty “likes” thrown in to tell us what he really means, and how
      we don’t read his posts closely enough, but there’s a clear pattern in
      his posts over the years of essentializing writing along lines of race,
      sexuality, and identity. Baldwin is a great example. A black writer like
      Toni Morrison isn’t any “blacker,” either, especially when she’s highly
      influenced by Faulkner. Almost all literary discourses precede
      sociological constructions of race and trace their roots to ancient oral
      traditions that viewed narrative as both linear and non-linear.

  64. Stephen Dierks

      sweet addendum

  65. Anonymous

      “That it’s important to point out instances of hegemony when they occur, that this is part of raising consciousness, an element in a wider programme of resistance?”

      This is what makes your voice so shrill. You’re pushing a cultural and political agenda. I suppose you are in at least partial agreement with the typical progressive response, “the personal is political” or better yet, “Those advancing the idea of a canon are relentlessly promoting their own oppressive agenda” etc. Whatever. The way I see it, you are making someone defend their politics when it wasn’t the topic of discussion while at the same time implying that a fringe political position is the norm. That isn’t dialog, it’s badgering.

      P.S. Sincere use of the word ‘patriarchy’ in a political discussion is a strong signal that I can safely disregard the speaker’s opinion with little if any danger of having missed anything interesting.

  66. Endless Dan Moore

      alice walker is the worst. 

  67. Endless Dan Moore

      in the politically conscious space occupied by literary blogs and grad students reading literary blogs your voice is the hegemonic one. 

  68. Anonymous

      The three black female writers I mentioned are already a part of the canon. Their exclusion is a step backwards, not a step neutral.

      Most of the things you mention are a diversion from this point (your opinions on what constitutes “radical literature”; where I should be expressing myself on the internet etc.)

      I don’t find comments that criticize authors to be “bitchy” especially not the misogyny of Jimmy Chen the writer. This is a year when the greatest rollback of women’s rights in the last century is currently underway : access to contraception.  It doesn’t take a genius to point out that contraception has had the single greatest impact on the ability of women to write books, paint, make music, and culture than any other development in centuries.

      I find the way that Jimmy Chen interfaces with his audience to be manipulative, even exploitative in its divisive and selectively ignorant or selectively sensitive understandings.

      You keep talking about the canon, I already wrote that the wrong way to interpret my grievance.

  69. Anonymous

       I strongly disagree, and find some of her stories to be more successfully experimental in form than much of what I’ve read of experimental literature.

  70. Anonymous

       we?

  71. Anonymous

       sorry this was meant as a response to alice walker comment  above

  72. Anonymous

      My comment is down further by accident. The other thing about Alice Walker is: she’s not afraid to tell a story.  

  73. Anonymous

       I would ask “ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS??” (to all of that but especially to the ‘P.S.’) — but for the fact that it’s so dishearteningly clear that you are.

  74. Anonymous

      You’re dead wrong

  75. Ponsford McQuain

      Enjoyed this post.  The chart seems to be playing with notions of influence and notions of charts.  I don’t think JC is at all unaware of limitations or of context.  It seems obvious that we should be free to think and visualize while maintaining an awareness of political context etc. (which doesn’t need to be constantly in the foreground).  I think of influence more in terms of slippery node networks but not because I have some problem with more traditional ways of framing it.

      The idea of a canon, old or new, seems dead as a way of conferring legitimacy.   It’s useful as a starting point for people interested in reading so that maybe we have read a few books in common and sometimes it is fun for discussions and thinking about history.  Beyond that I’m astonished that people still think it’s a useful or important thing.

  76. Harry Giles

      The agenda of a ruling power doesn’t have to be pushed as the topic of discussion: it’s there, implicit. That’s what hegemony is. I’m happy to push, to badger, in those cases, or reasons discussed elsewhere.

      I could reply to your PS with a PS saying that anyone being dismissive of patriarchy as  useful theoretical construct can be summarily disregarded and/or executed. But that wouldn’t get us very far, would it?

  77. ZZZZZIPPP

      WHERE IS BORGES IS HE ON THE REVERSE SIDE OF THIS GRAPH SOMEHOW 

      DERRIDA IS LAUGHING SOMEWHERE… ZZZZIPPP’S ENTERED A ROOM. THERE IS A DOUBLE STAIRWAY. ZZZIPPP KNOWS THAT THROUGH THE DOOR AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRWAY WILL BE ANOTHER STAIRWAY. ZZZIPPP IS TIRED OF GOING IN CIRCLES. IN THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF THE VILLA DERRIDA WILL STRIP ZZZZIPPP’S GUN. BORGES WILL LAUGH AND SAY SOMETHING ABOUT A COMPASS. WHY ARE YOU ALL HERE ZIPPPP WILL CRY NOT UNDERSTANDING ANYTHING EXCEPT THAT THERE IS A REVERSE SIDE SOMEWHERE THAT THE VILLA MAYBE CONTINUES UNDERGROUND AND THERE IS A LOWER LEVEL WHERE BARTH IS WRITING AN ESSAY OF SOME KIND AND MAYBE BARTHELME HAS COME TO KILL HIM OH WHO CARES

  78. Chart Lit « The Floating Library

      […] via Rate this: Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterStumbleUponDiggRedditPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to […]

  79. Anonymous

       Man I loved reading that post.

      I can sympathize with both sides, I think. As much as I hate being the “both sides” dude. My beliefs align with giles, and I think pretty much every word he wrote was correct, but I get jimmy too. And his rejoinder was quite eloquent.

      The pointless hostility can be wearying. When you say “I don’t understand how you can let yourself get away with. . . ” then I’m not sure it’s fair to complain when your companion shuts down and operates mostly out of defensiveness. And maybe that’s not a big deal, as I get that a lot of web communication is not about communicating with the person you’re talking to so much as it is making the more broad argument, and having it stick there, waiting in space, offering an alternative for the dominant narrative that’s forming. And that’s great. I’m not being sarcastic. It’s useful, and there’s a lot of stuff I wouldn’t have ever learned without such action. But I’m kind of pooped out on. . . something vague about this. All the going to war over a list of books. I’m not trying to attack giles here either, as again I think he’s basically correct, and he has certainly NOT been the nastiest on here—it’s more like the “hur hur unironic uses of ‘patriarchy,’ chuckle chuckle” stuff is a kind of nastiness that’s par for the course and not something I identify with. It’s expected. I identify heavily with what giles is saying, almost as if I’m right there typing it, so I get thinking about it more. Maybe because I’ve said a lot of similar stuff, though mostly in sports forums.

      And this isn’t a civility thing, because seriously, fuck civility. Just fuck it. It makes me so sad, civility. It’s just more and more I find myself wondering how to present non-hegemonic (apologies if I’ve fudged on the use of that word) arguments while still avoiding that certain vague something that is so psychically wearying. It’s a kind of reductiveness that only invites further reductiveness in response, and sends you spiraling down this wormhole of not learning much and not feeling very good afterward. I find that if I feel inwardly gross after an encounter I probably fucked something up with that person. I guess I’m looking for the right kind of reductiveness. It’s necessary to varying degrees depending mostly on the medium you’re using and the rapidity of response. So then even in just chatting with someone over a beer I feel like I’m always searching for the right kind of reductiveness–and NOT the right level of it, that’s just a snobby Franzen-style thing to say, where “oh the medium is too reductive, my dainty and deeply meditative hands can’t touch it”–and I always feel like I’ve failed and that I am a dick. And sometimes I was a dick! Though sometimes not.

      I want someone to write a book: STRATEGIES FOR PRESENTING NON-NORMATIVE ARGUMENTS. And like a serious book, not arch or blandly political. What’s the most productive way to do this thing, because at this point I’ve decided that the best way for me to do it is basically not at all, and for me to just hunker down and do my work and stay like almost immodestly humble and you know I guess just fart into my hands with my freetime. It’s not ideal, but I felt so fucking unproductive and dickish all the other times. Maybe half of the problem was the time I spend on deeply anti-feminist sports forums, where I’m basically talking right directly in to their assholes, but you know, I really like sports, and at this point it’s a part of my identity I can’t seem to give up. (I’ve tried.) So.

  80. Anonymous

      I’ve been meaning to try Sterne. He seems my like type of dude. He’s been the novel I’m going to read next for years now. He’s always next, and then some other book catches my ADD eye, and ooh pretty, and he stays at next.

      Maybe he would like that.

  81. Trey

      so are you guys, like, using this chart to teach your kids or something? is that why you’re all so pissed? are you afraid that, like, the today show or the nightly news is going to start promoting this chart?

      it’s a picture on htmlgiant. christ.

  82. Anonymous

      I’m interested in the claim in your last pragraph. What do people mean why they say this? That aesthetic standards are determined by this obvious historical bias?

      I’m mostly out of my depth here, so don’t take any misunderstandings as me on the ALMIGHTY OFFENSIVE. Just wondering things.

      Anyway. Does it mean that most people–especially people in arbiter type roles in the world of lit–judge writing by a sort of cheaply readymade set of inflexible standards, almost as if they’re checking off a rubric, and that this is what is meant, and is so obviously problematic? I’m thinking of all the people who describe good writing as, help me god, MUSCULAR. Kill me right now. Muscular writing usually means rich white dude gets head from stupid dumb slut hur hur hur writing. Or whatever.

      Or does it mean something more grand? That any attempt to discern quality in writing is hopelessly compromised? I can buy this to a degree, as pretty much everything I do tends to feel hopelessly compromised by what society says I am, but does it become a complete relativism? Because I think reading diversely and developing a descriptive, book-taken-on-its-own-terms method of apprehending what might loosely be called excellence– but is really more a sort of creative fullness–is pretty as an act of booklove. I’ve talked to some profs that seemed to suggest that even this was worthless, though I’m never sure to what degree they’re speaking out of archness, contraryness, or exaggeration.

  83. Drew Lerman

      I truly feel like everyone who is mad at this chart should make his or her own chart.

  84. Courtney Chase Williamson

      arguments about the ‘cannon’ are so annoying. The canon is like a good urban legend. Nobody wrote the list for the cannon and no one person perfected the urban legend or the myth. It took years, and many minds before the urban legend reaches perfection.

      Just as it took many years and many people to elevate certain to something of a Canon list. It evolved organically. People have spoken and it’s through the fact that certain writers are better at capturing the minds of people than others and so they continue on being read.

      am I wrong on this?

  85. Anonymous

      Well, you’re not wrong in conceptualizing ‘canon’ — in as much as it exists — as an ongoing and amorphous consensus among many minds. You are wrong if you’re saying that no one has tried to come up with a definitive list, though: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_canon#Origins

      On the surface, this seems like a decent enough concept: ‘canon’ is just the organically evolving consensus about which set of books and authors have been most high-quality, influential and important to culture and to other literature. The problem is in who has been allowed, presently and historically, to participate in the conversation that leads to this supposed consensus. 

      It’s certainly not just the general public, and maybe that’s a good thing, because in that case Dan Brown would be a leading author of our time.  On the other hand, plenty of books that were poorly regarded in their day have gone on to become part of the wider canon (if not necessarily the ‘literary canon’), and can and have been culturally influential even if they’re poorly written (I’m looking at you, Narnia series).  This is something of a tangent, but my point is that if you’re restricting the discussion to works of “literary quality”, imposing some restraints on whose opinion is most relevant is not necessarily a bad thing.

      However, it’s really only since about the 1960s that women, non-white people, and non-“Western” voices have been allowed to participate in this conversation and re-shape the popular idea of the ‘canon’ with their contributions — and then it is only because they/we have and continue to fight hard for the right to participate, in the face of ridiculous, defensive opposition like you find in this thread.  I don’t think Jimmy Chen was being intentionally exclusionary (let alone misogynistic) in compiling the authors he chose to include in his flowchart. It’s just that the set he chose is representative of an exclusive and exclusionary tendency that gets a lot of people’s backs up, and reasonably so. In any case, the reasonable response to the kind of criticism the chart provoked is simply to acknowledge it and either defend the work on its own merits or give an “oops, my bad” response, acknowledging the limiting tendencies that participating in a male-centric literary culture inevitably has.  It is NOT to get personally defensive and accuse the criticizer(s) of making things up in order to launch personal attacks.

      Or, more simply: Making an male-centric list of authors and calling it “literature” is potentially but *not necessarily* misogynistic.  Replying to accusations of male-centrism with defensive personal attacks, odd stories about supposed grad school feminist conspiracies, and the assertion that the patriarchy doesn’t exist and anyone who cites it is to be automatically disregarded (this last from a commenter, not JC) absolutely IS misogynistic.

  86. Mike James

      The canon is a baseball game. This post/flowchart is an hit past shortstop to left. A non-canonical flowchart would be the batter snatching the ball out of the air or wrestling it away from the catcher and taking a bite out of the ball, then walking off into concessions and bartering for a lowered priced beer.

  87. Don

      You are a Prince, dear ZZZZZIPPP.

  88. Sugar Bear

      HonoredGuest also read the last paragraph.

  89. Anonymous

      If I had to pick something to get in line about, it would be the, let’s say, monomania you share with most people for the novel. Even assuming I were an ax-grinder by trade, though, HTMLGiant is really the wrong place to decide to have a problem with that.

      Otherwise, I had a good time going through what was, pretty obviously, a personal evocation of the window you have into words. I appreciate your labors, and, in my own small way, have benefited from them.

  90. Robbie Bruens

      Yes indeed, where is the drama, the poetry, the essay? Where’s Borges for the love of Menard? I suppose Shakespeare is cursing himself for never writing a novel.

      And yet what a fun idea! Everyone should make their own…how do I make one?

  91. Sugar Bear

      And where are the cookbooks? The how-to guides? The birdwatching compendiums? The maps of places real and not? Where are the conversion charts and the flash sheets of different fonts they hang up in tattoo parlors? What happened to the fiction submissions of dream-headed third graders that didn’t win the contest but were hung up in the classroom on the wall in size twelve font so you had to stand nose-to-wall in order to read it? And what of the menus with half the seafood options at market price and the little symbols next to the items that conveyed whether they were gluten-free of vegetarian? The terms and conditions that are never read and always clicked and signed through and only rarely come back to haunt you with their legalistic text? What about logos, brandnames and catch-phrases orgying about unashamedly in our public spaces?
       

  92. Mike James

      Naw, mostly its because HTMLGiant is a platform. And a lot of impressionable artists come to this site and consume its data as gospel for their artistic way of life, or use it to supplement their already existing ideas. And there are authors (Jimmy Chen, one in question this time) on this site who submit articles and have a platform to present to those impressionable folk. But, there are some who feel that Jimmy Chen should’ve/should be doing something different than what he has always done. This, of course, requires the assumption of knowing what Jimmy Chen does/has done. But seeing that this is a litblog with a way back machine, we have a general idea of what he has done.

      Sometimes people want something different. I use to eat Canes every day for a week until I realized I had Canes every day this week. Then I wanted a baked potato, but not just any kind of baked potato. Something different. A baked potato with chili maybe, or maybe just one with olive oil and crunchy skin and salt and pepper and a glass of water. Maybe I would then create a brand new way of baking baked potatos, something that is out of the baked potato canon.

      Semiotics, trey. The “picture on HTMLGiant” is actually a stand-in for the emotions of the people who visit this site and have commented. The “picture on HTMLGiant” has a set of ideas that is 1) Its own and 2) A projection non-conscious of its author.

  93. Trey

      I kind of expected this response. “but aspiring writers come here!” is what people say to my kind of flippant response. that’s true, but aspiring writers are kind of smart. I mean, they can figure out that there are more writers out there than the ones listed on jimmy’s chart, I think or hope?

      your example about wanting different kinds of food is a good example. but like if you’re going into wendy’s and having a hamburger every day for a week, and now you’re tired of hamburgers, you don’t (or shouldn’t) go into wendy’s and throw a fit because wendy’s doesn’t have tacos. go somewhere that has tacos. or go home and make your own food. right?

  94. Anonymous

      A few points…

      1) Personally, I don’t get too worked up over “the canon.” I’m not sure how many commenters here work or take classes within English departments, but the curriculum is pretty diverse today. Sure, it could be better, but it’s not like your typical young Lit prof today is Harold Bloom. Also, I agree with Don below that the idea of a canon is useful. As long as it remains fluid and flexible, who cares, and who is naive enough to think that it’s possible to study literature without arbitrary categories? How would I learn about Naturalism without reading a vetted list of “Naturalist” writers? As long as the category of Naturalism remains open, flexible, and fluid, and I read Jewett, Chopin, Nella Larsen and Gilman alongside London and Norris, there’s nothing wrong with this particular canonical category’s existence. It seems problematic to suggest that a canon should not exist while at the same arguing for the inclusion of more minority writers, when we should really be arguing for more minority writers to be “canonical.”

      2) Let’s also not play semantics to the point where we get so hung up on the word, “canon,” that we somehow think it has to mean today what it meant two-hundred years ago.

      3) My guess is that people take issue with how Jimmy Chen responds to negative comments/criticism. It’s usually something along the lines of, “U R mean, I worked really hard on this ‘earnest’ project, why r u depressing me and hurting my fweelings?” Then, a few of his brainless buddies inevitably come along to circle the wagons, people are banned by site admins, and then these people have to use proxy servers to post again on HTMLGiant, all because Jimmy Chen gets butt hurt so easily and can dish it out but can’t take it.

  95. Anonymous

      I was especially annoyed by the Joyce cluster – it made me wonder if Chen has read Woolf (or Stein), but then I had that question more generally – how much of this is based on his own reading and how much is based on secondary sources (wikipedia, maybe?) – I think this is the problem of attempting to reduce something as complicated as ‘literature’ (or even something more contained, like ‘Modernism’) to a flowchart. It’s too complex, and ultimately, the reduction is barely interesting because it strips away what’s really interesting about the texts. And, ultimately, I think that’s why a project like this is upsetting to some – to reduce Woolf, for example, to an orbit around Joyce, is a bummer–especially, I think, since you could argue that Woolf was a better, or at least more interesting, writer than Joyce (but, of course, that’s a matter of taste). 

      But hey, good for Jimmy Chen for trying to distill the undistillable. But, I don’t think it’s surprising that this project is upsetting to people–it’s not just that it reproduces a canon, but that it’s yet another attempt to create a hierarchy/linear representation of something that’s not linear, as if Gogol and Hugo sprang forth from Cervantes, and so on. 

  96. Frank Lloyd Wong

      maybe solitary straight white american males are just good at writing powerful works of literature. it’s innate. don’t come down us for something we can’t help. it’s really more of a handicap than anything else, so i find the “fuck the norm!” mentality to be rude and ignorant.

  97. Anonymous

      Like, dude, brah…etc –  Because this is a website on the internet in which people are allowed to leave comments when they want to say something.

      It’s some comments in the internet. Christ.

  98. Anonymous

      OK, I might be confused, Trey, but it sounds like you are arguing on HTMLGiant that people should not argue on HTMLGiant about a post they don’t like because they should be used to seeing things they don’t like here? I can get behind that, but it seems like arguing about it in comments is as bad as arguing about the post – for example, I might say “Trey, aren’t you used to people complaining about HTMLGiant in the comments section of posts they don’t like? Why are you bothering to comment on the commenters’ complaints? It’s just the comments section. Christ.” Right?

  99. Anonymous

      Maybe let’s start talking about canons and not the canon?

  100. Trey

      You are right. I wish I could concede without seeming snarky, but I’m afraid the comments here are too charged for you to believe me. But I agree and I should probably have just not commented.

  101. Mike James

      Pretty much Mr. T, but I say people still have the right to tell Wendys they need to make their food healthier, if a lot of potential foodmakers/people in general are looking at them for a cue. Or, even, the farmers and food manufacturers. I can tell them I don’t want ammonia sanitized bologna slime mixed in with my scrambled beef. I’ll never believe in just shutting up and “taking it elsewhere”. As if this “elsewhere” is somehow truly separate from the “everywhere else”.

  102. Victor Schultz

       he would love it.

  103. Anonymous

      Liked the flowchart – then read retarded comments which made me like the flowchart more. Hemingway is in perfect placement.

  104. jtc

       you should just link to a powerpoint presentation, through which you could do all that and more, yeah? even a commentary track!

  105. Anonymous

      This is all a some sort of elaborate plot to have the most popular post on HTMLgiant, isn’t it?

      (I guess it’s only elaborate if several of the commenters are Jimmy Chen, but that was my immediate assumption after reading all 103 comments so far. Why else has it gone so far? Why am I adding to this bulging comment thread? Am I Jimmy Chen? (note: I am not Jimmy Chen))

  106. Anonymous

      Is questioning the relative importance of a small flow chart a political act?
      Why do I rarely find the most commented on posts to be the most interesting?
      (Is it fair for me to say that though I understand the gravity and importance of the issues concerning the patriarchal canon, I find this particular discussion to be both shrill and boring?)

      I have a feeling that some will question the sincerity of my questions. I think that’s a mistake, though I’m not really sure.

      Will some one please lighten the mood with a cheesy cannon pun?

  107. deadgod

      I don’t think you put your rennet into firing this grapeshot.

  108. Juan Pancake

      scrolled down with eager anticipation of deadgod’s critique in order that I could dismiss it without understanding it, lol

  109. Juan Pancake

      I predict a place in the internet of the future where people who read go to cathartically type names of authors, critics, philosophers, etc and see them displayed electronically for other people to read and respond to with more names.

  110. Literature(/’Canon’) Flowchart: the ongoing grad school-y argument over [whatever the current word for bad is e.g. "power," "patriarchy," "canonical"] vs. [whatever the current word for good is e.g. "the othe

      […] This is a “Literature Flowchart” I got off a post on HTMLGIANT(.com). […]

  111. Anonymous

      Let’s all just be racist and sexist in an ALT-LIT – experimentally fucked way – Robert Bly, barechested with a drum

  112. Harry Giles
  113. Mark Buckner

      I feel pretty indifferent about the flowchart, but I have to say that this is one of the most apt descriptions of “grad school-y” arguments I’ve ever seen: “the ongoing grad school-y argument over [whatever the current word for bad is e.g. “power,” “patriarchy,” “canonical”] vs. [whatever the current word for good is e.g. “the other,” “minority,” “queer,” “post-{something}”]”

      Spot on.

  114. Literature Flowchart « The Stepney Moan

      […] HTMLGiant Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Published: April 6, 2012 […]

  115. Favorite contemporary fiction authors: A top ten list | fourth street review

      […] Image: Literary flowchart found here. […]

  116. Robbie Bruens

      The post is entitled ‘Literature Flowchart’ and generally novels, poetry, and short stories are all considered part of literature, unlike birdwatching compendiums and license agreements. Your snark is really really close to be funny though. Keep at it.