Donald Barthelme

by Chris

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One thought on “Donald Barthelme

  1. This is an interesting project on an interesting subject. The websites you set up were interesting and provided good information on Barthelme. Before this project, I had not heard of Donald Bartheleme and I’m surprised at that. It was refreshing to know that someone successful has come from Galveston. The most interest I found in this project was the essay, “Not-Knowing.” The ideas Bartheleme is playing with are very interesting. In his critique of everything literary, Bartheleme offers, among many things, that “art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, but because it wished to be art.” This sentence tackles his gripes with art’s creation, criticism, and division into periods, i.e. Modernism etc. For creation, he is ascribed to the philosophy that works should be involuntary, and that they are created in an always evolving manner. About criticism of art, he considers that it can be detrimental to works: to break something apart into pieces most often destroys what it was as a whole. As for the division of art into periods, he seems to consider it all laughable, yet sadly inevitable. I also found his presentation of these arguments intriguing. For most of all the points he made, he addressed them by writing in the manner of the subject being critiqued. I will probably be reading more Bartheleme essays from the “Not-Knowing” collection. Bartheleme has a good philosophical view of art, and, from what I’ve gathered of his fiction, he seems to occupy an interesting position in the transitory phase of postmodern literary art.

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