Design and Debris

Design and Debris

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Reading eight major contemporary authors through the lens of chaos theory, Conte offers new and original interpretations of works that have been the subject of much critical debate. Design and Debris discusses the relationship between order and disorder in the works of John Hawkes, Harry Mathews, John Barth, Gilbert Sorrentino, Robert Coover, Thomas Pynchon, Kathy Acker, and Don DeLillo. In analyzing their work, Joseph Conte brings to bear a unique approach adapted from scientific thought: chaos theory. His chief concern is illuminating those works whose narrative structures locate order hidden in disorder (whose authors Conte terms qproceduralistsq), and those whose structures reflect the opposite, disorder emerging from states of order (whose authors Conte calls qdisruptorsq). Documenting the paradigm shift from modernism, in which artists attempted to impose order on a disordered world, to postmodernism, in which the artist portrays the process of qorderly disorder, q Conte shows how the shift has led to postmodern artists' embrace of science in their treatment of complex ideas. Detailing how chaos theory interpenetrates disciplines as varied as economics, politics, biology, and cognitive science, he suggests a second paradigm shift: from modernist specialization to postmodern pluralism. In such a pluralistic world, the novel is freed from the purely literary and engages in a greater degree of interactivity-between literature and science, and between author and reader. Thus, Conte concludes, contemporary literature is a literature of flux and flexibility.The game provides a perfect, Acnished balance sheet: each accomplishment ( credit) of the hitter represents a failure (debit) for the pitcher, and vice versa. ... From the complex network of real actions of the playing Aceld, an absolute mathematical Acgure thus results. ... basketball, different card games, war and Ac nance games, horseracing, football, and so on, all on paper of course. Once ... Their limited appeal rests in a mechanistic order, the conAcdence on the part of their creator that theyanbsp;...

Title:Design and Debris
Author:Joseph Conte
Publisher:University of Alabama Press - 2002-04-24


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