On Cosmic Realism

Let me highly recommend this essay, which is a review of Mary Swan’s book The Boys in the Trees but contains an interesting analysis of “cosmic realism”, a new strain of literary-ness perpetuated by the likes of Marilynne Robinson and Annie Dillard.

On the basis of these rhythms, the cosmic realist novel develops a distinct syntax of its own. Typically, the prose is lyrical and crisp–rich without being lavish, sumptuous but not florid. These books find the fewest strokes with which to paint the freshest image. “She watched blue shadows on his white shirt stretch and shrink as he moved,” Dillard writes. But the economy of language is not merely pretty. It calls to mind the classical Chinese poets– like them, commanding attention by demanding it. This prose promises to be experienced as poetry. It engrosses when it engages.

One thought on “On Cosmic Realism

  1. Pingback: What I read in 2009 « Dancing by the Light

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