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Editorial

Editorial In thinking about countertexts, the countertextual, and the post-literary one must beware – or at least be aware – of the temptation to see the development of the literary in terms of dramatic and decisive breaks, singular events that are not only unanticipated, but by their very nature unavailable to anticipation. To give in to this temptation too readily is to imagine the literary past to be more static, monolithic, and conservative than it most likely ever was. It may be a rhetorically beguiling way of creating a foil against which to render in sharper and more contrasting relief that which appears genuinely novel, but it is almost always a distortion of the true picture. Which is not, of course, to deny or downplay those moments – inherently countertextual in nature – when the literary does seem radically to reorient or reinvent itself. In this centenary year of the publication of Joyce’s Ulysses and Eliot’s The Waste Land, to name but two such revolutionary texts published in 1922, we are reminded of the possibility of watershed moments in the development of literature. But it is important to see these developments precisely as developments – creatio ex materia rather than http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Countertext Edinburgh University Press

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2056-4406
eISSN
2056-4414
DOI
10.3366/count.2022.0268
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In thinking about countertexts, the countertextual, and the post-literary one must beware – or at least be aware – of the temptation to see the development of the literary in terms of dramatic and decisive breaks, singular events that are not only unanticipated, but by their very nature unavailable to anticipation. To give in to this temptation too readily is to imagine the literary past to be more static, monolithic, and conservative than it most likely ever was. It may be a rhetorically beguiling way of creating a foil against which to render in sharper and more contrasting relief that which appears genuinely novel, but it is almost always a distortion of the true picture. Which is not, of course, to deny or downplay those moments – inherently countertextual in nature – when the literary does seem radically to reorient or reinvent itself. In this centenary year of the publication of Joyce’s Ulysses and Eliot’s The Waste Land, to name but two such revolutionary texts published in 1922, we are reminded of the possibility of watershed moments in the development of literature. But it is important to see these developments precisely as developments – creatio ex materia rather than

Journal

CountertextEdinburgh University Press

Published: Aug 1, 2022

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