2. The New Weird: What Happens to Literary Realism When the Truth Is Stranger than Fiction
Mark Spitzer [+]
University of Central Arkansas
First published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, this chapter builds on a theory of creative nonfiction first proposed by Tom Wolfe, but with some philosophical input from Edgar Allen Poe and Ezra Pound. The basic premise is that if creative nonfiction does not contain elements of “the unusual,” then it cannot compete against fiction or reality (which has become stranger than fiction). Examples are offered ranging from Michael Jackson to 9/11 to instances published in News of the Weird and best-selling books that incorporate aspects of the fantastic. Teaching experiences are recounted with an eye toward adjusting in-class assignments to meet the curricular criteria of the instructor.