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Literary Journalism across the Globe

Journalistic Traditions and Transnational Influences

edited by John S. Bak and Bill Reynolds

Publication Year: 2011

At the end of the nineteenth century, several countries were developing journalistic traditions similar to what we identify today as literary reportage or literary journalism. Yet throughout most of the twentieth century, in particular after World War I, that tradition was overshadowed and even marginalized by the general perception among democratic states that journalism ought to be either “objective,” as in the American tradition, or “polemical,” as in the European. Nonetheless, literary journalism would survive and, at times, even thrive. How and why is a story that is unique to each nation. Though largely considered an Anglo-American phenomenon today, literary journalism has had a long and complex international history, one built on a combination of traditions and influences that are sometimes quite specific to a nation and at other times come from the blending of cultures across borders. These essays examine this phenomenon from various international perspectives, documenting literary journalism’s rich and diverse heritage and describing its development within a global context. In addition to the editors, contributors include David Abrahamson, Peiqin Chen, Clazina Dingemanse, William Dow, Rutger de Graaf, John Hartsock, Nikki Hessell, Maria Lassila-Merisalo, Edvaldo Pereira Lima, Willa McDonald, Jenny McKay, Sonja Merljak Zdovc, Sonia Parratt, Norman Sims, Isabel Soares,and Soenke Zehle.

Published by: University of Massachusetts Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

This book has been a long time in the making. Its editors owe thanks not only to those scholars who have contributed to its pages but also to those literary journalists discussed in the sixteen essays who have waited decades or centuries for their work to be recognized to its fullest extent as literary journalism or literary reportage. Many people have had a direct or indirect hand in this book’s production. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-20

At the end of the nineteenth century, several countries were developing journalistic traditions similar to what we identify today as literary journalism or literary reportage. Throughout most of the twentieth century, however, and in particular after World War I, that tradition was overshadowed and even marginalized by the general perception among democratic ...

Part I: Toward a Theory of International Literary Journalism

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Chapter 1. Literary Reportage: The “Other” Literary Journalism

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pp. 23-46

Given the similarities in terms, it would be easy to assume that “literary reportage” and “literary journalism” are one and the same genre. But consider the following: journalists Svetlana Alexievich and Anna Politkovskaya, who derive from the same Soviet and post-Soviet cultural milieu, have both been described as writers of “literary reportage” and its variant “reportage ...

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Chapter 2. Reportage in the U.K.: A Hidden Genre?

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pp. 47-60

When Alexandra Fuller won the world’s most prestigious award for literary reportage in 2005, her book was hailed as “a spellbinding literary achievement.” Few British readers got to know this, even though Fuller was born in Britain, and her book Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier (2005), for which the award was made, was published by Penguin, a ...

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Chapter 3. The Edge of Canadian Literary Journalism: The West Coast’s Restless Search for Meaning versus Central Canada’s Chronicles of the Rich and Powerful

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pp. 61-78

Some years ago, American literary journalist John Vaillant, then in his mid-thirties, decided to make magazine feature writing his vocation. Once he had done so, he labored extensively but successfully, experiencing a personal breakthrough in 1999 by having one of his stories published in the New Yorker.1 A couple of years later, the Boston native then moved from ...

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Chapter 4. The Counter-Coriolis Effect: Contemporary Literary Journalism in a Shrinking World

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pp. 79-84

I must confess that with this essay, I hope to start an argument, to present more questions than answers, to offer a provocation. If, dear reader, you will permit a moment’s digression, it might be helpful if I shared an aside or two suggesting just how modest my goals are. Early in my career in the academy, one of my mentors made what I thought then ...

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Chapter 5. The Evolutionary Future of American and International Literary Journalism

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pp. 85-92

In 1935 Joseph North, who was editor of The New Masses in Greenwich Village during the Great Depression, understood how important literary journalism was. He said that literary journalism - or what at the time he called “reportage” - was “three-dimensional” reporting. “The writer not only condenses reality,” North said, but also “helps the reader feel the fact. The ...

Part II: Journalistic Traditions

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Chapter 6. Dutch Literary Journalism: From Pamphlet to Newspaper (ca. 1600–1900)

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pp. 95-117

When exploring the field of literary journalism, one undoubtedly encounters Tom Wolfe’s volume The New Journalism. In one section called “Is the New Journalism Really New?” Wolfe discusses several possible early examples of literary journalism. He focuses primarily on eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century novelists, concluding that while some could definitely be considered “not half-bad candidates,” literary journalism in general did not come into its own until the twentieth century.1 ...

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Chapter 7. Literary Journalism’s Magnetic Pull: Britain’s “New” Journalism and the Portuguese at the Fin-de-Siècle

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pp. 118-133

In referring to, studying, or reading about literary journalism, the tendency is to consider it an Anglophone phenomenon if for no other reason than the fact that a proto-literary journalism emerged in the nineteenth century on both sides of the Atlantic: the “new” journalism ascribed to W. T. Stead, Henry Mayhew, and Andrew Mearns in Britain, and to Jack ...

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Chapter 8. Literary Journalism in Spain: Past, Present (and Future?)

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pp. 134-147

A casual look at Spanish newspapers and magazines today is enough to give a general impression of how important literary journalism is to the print media in that country. To be sure, literary and journalistic activities have shared a long and complex history, although many years had to pass before that relationship was considered as an object of analysis. In Spain in particular, the situation is not much different. Although the origins ...

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Chapter 9. Social Movements and Chinese Literary Reportage

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pp. 148-161

Chinese literary reportage, or baogao wenxue, is a genre that combines journalism and literature, in which the journalism should be truthful and the literature artful. How truthful or how artful remains a contentious subject within the Chinese academy, though scholars do agree that literary reportage should meet the basic requirements of journalism - truthfulness, ...

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Chapter 10. A Century of Nonfiction Solitude: A Survey of Brazilian Literary Journalism

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pp. 162-183

From the very late 1800s to the very early 2000s, literary journalism has played out an errant but meaningful history in Brazil. While it has never been mainstream in the Brazilian news media, literary journalism has proved its staying power through the writings of two exceptional individuals, Euclides da Cunha and Jo

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Chapter 11. Literary Journalism in Twentieth-Century Finland

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pp. 184-208

Literary journalism is practically an unknown term in Finland. That does not mean the form does not exist there, however. On the contrary, literary reportage emerged in Finnish newspapers around the same time that journalism itself started becoming a full-time profession in the country, that is, at the dawn of the twentieth century. The problem instead is one of ...

Part III: Transnational Influences

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Chapter 12. Riding the Rails with Robin Hyde: Literary Journalism in 1930s New Zealand

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pp. 211-224

Readers of the June 1936 issue of the New Zealand Railways Magazine were greeted with an exhortation from the Government Tourist Bureau to “Know Your Own Country.” Accompanied by pictures of Mitre Peak and Mount Egmont, the bureau’s promotional material asked New Zealanders to see travel and tourism as their patriotic duty: “This country of ours is a land of which we can be justifiably proud, ...

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Chapter 13. James Agee’s “Continual Awareness,” Untold Stories: “Saratoga Springs” and “Havana Cruise”

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pp. 225-237

Like his Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), James Agee’s shorter literary journalism expresses the hope of trying to invent a new transforming aesthetic practice in which, as he states in his masterwork, “the reader is no less centrally involved than the authors and those of whom they tell.”1 Agee’s Famous Men, composed of photographs by Walker Evans and Agee’s ...

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Chapter 14. Željko Kozinc, the Subversive Reporter: Literary Journalism in Slovenia

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pp. 238-259

A little Bit of heart and sincerity can’t do any harm, or so thought a small group of reporters writing for the Slovene journal Tovariš (Comrade), a widely circulated illustrated magazine established in 1945 that thrived in the 1960s and early 1970s.1 These fourteen journalists and two photographers, all of them without journalistic education or experience, wrote for Tovariš at a ...

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Chapter 15. Creditable or Reprehensible? The Literary Journalism of Helen Garner

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pp. 260-275

The reactions by critics and the general public to the literary journalism of Helen Garner, one of Australia’s leading writers, demonstrate that writing reportage with the eye of a novelist raises professional and ethical challenges. Garner’s nonfiction, while masterly in its use of language, has a history of drawing heated comments from the mainstream Australian media ...

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Chapter 16. Ryszard Kapuściński and the Borders of Documentarism: Toward Exposure without Assumption

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pp. 276-294

Even if we grant that contemporary literary journalism has many fathers and mothers, Ryszard Kapuściński was surely one of its most influential representatives. Aware of the way in which the technologies of reportage affect, structure, and transform our attentiveness to events, the Polish writer remained seemingly old-fashioned in his vision of journalism as a creative ...

Contributors

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pp. 295-298

Index

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pp. 299-306

Back Cover

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p. 322-322


E-ISBN-13: 9781613760321
E-ISBN-10: 1613760329
Print-ISBN-13: 9781558498761
Print-ISBN-10: 1558498761

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 3 , 1 chart
Publication Year: 2011