Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Death of Story?

Owen Gleiberman writes a great article in this week's EW about how old fashioned storytelling is an endangered species in Hollywood, thanks to the blockbuster and the reality TV show craze. He hits the nail on the head, but this goes on in fiction as well, and has been for some time. Novelists in the early 20th century (Joyce, Woolf et al) deconstructed the novel, the story and ever since we've had something of a revolt against it in literature.

I think this is why Joseph Campbell (and consequently, Star Wars) became so popular. It wasn't just mythology he was talking about, it was storytelling. We don't do it anymore. Much fiction today favors style over substance, introspection over engagment. Part of the problem is the world we live in. Novels, like letters, used to be means of reporting the world beyond - now that world is at your fingertips, with blogs, email and CNN. And story isn't just plot, it's much more; it's character, it's reportage, it's necessary.

1 comment:

p said...

hey darb- its polly. anyway- i think you're super right about this. you should read grace paley's "A Conversation With My Father." She describes how her father says she never writes normal stories than demands she write a story right that minute - and of course, it is typically paley- off-center. I'm reading Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow right now - and while the form blows me away, I don't really enjoy it. I feel like I'm constantly searching for the story.