“Fiction as pure language (texture over structure) is in. It is one common manifestation of what is being called “post-modernism” At bottom the mistake is a matter of morality, at least in the sense that it shows, on the writer’s part, a lack of concern. To people who care about events and ideas and thus, necessarily, about the clear and efficient statement of both, linguistic opacity suggests indifference to the needs and wishes of the reader and to whatever ideas may be buried under all that brush. And since one reason we read fiction is our hope that we will be moved by it, finding characters we can enjoy and sympathize with, an academic striving for opacity suggests, if not misanthropy, a perversity or shallowness that no reader would tolerate except if he is one of those poor milktoast innocents who timidly accept violation of their feelings from a habit of supposing they must be missing something, or one of those arrogant donzels who chuckle at things obscure because their enjoyment  proves to them that they are not like lesser mortals. Where language is of primary concern to the writer, communication is necessarily secondary.”        John Gardner On Moral Fiction (New York; Basic Books, 1978) p.69


“These descriptions whose movement destroys all confidence in the things described, these heroes without naturalness as without identity, this present which constantly invents itself, as though in the course of the very writing, which repeats, doubles, modifies, denies itself, without ever accumulating in order to constitute a past – hence a “story,” a “history” in the traditional sense of the word – all this can only invite the reader … to another mode of participation than the one to which he was accustomed. If he is sometimes led to condemn the works of his time, that is, those which most directly address him, if he even complains of being deliberately abandoned, held off, disdained by the authors, this is solely because he persists in seeking a kind of communication which has long since ceased to be the one which is proposed by him. For, far from neglecting him the author today proclaims his absolute need of the reader’s cooperation, an active, conscious, creative assistance. What he asks of him is no longer to receive ready-made a world completed, full, closed upon itself, but on the contrary to participate in a creation, to invent in his turn the work – and the world – and thus to learn to invent his own life.”

   Alain Robbe-Grillet, Notes for a New Novel  (NY; Grove, 1965) p. 156


“I am free associating brilliantly, brilliantly, to put you into the problem. Or for fear of boring you. Which?”   Donald Barthelme, “Florence Green is 81”