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  • Remarks, Notes, Introduction and Other Guest-Editorial Texts Prefacing Postmodern Culture’s Special Fiction Issue Devoted to Postmodern Fiction
  • Larry McCaffery

Dedication: For Ronald Sukenick and William T. Vollmann

The Final Measurement: Guest-Editor’s Remarks Prefacing Postmodern Culture’s Special Fiction Issue Devoted to Postmodern Fiction

I *Epigraphs*

  1. I. 1
    Was there no end to anything? When would he reach the final measurement?
    William T. Vollmann, Fathers and Crows

  2. I. 2
    As writers—&
    everyone inscribes
    in the sense
    I mean here—
    we can
    try to intensify
    our relationships by considering
    how they work; are we putting
    each other to sleep
    or waking each other up;
    and what do we awake to? Does our writing stun
    or sting? We can try to
    bring our relationship with readers to
    that the site of reading becomes a fact of value
    —Charles Bernstein, Artifice of Absorption

  3. I. 3
    “You see what’s happening here you take a few things that interest you and you begin to make connections. The connections are the important thing they don’t exist before you make this. This is THE ENDLESS SHORT STORY.”
    —Ronald Sukenick, The Endless Short Story

II *Editor’s Preview of Contents for the Issue:*

  1. I. Epigraphs:

    • I. 1. From William T. Vollmann

    • I. 2. From Charles Bernstein

    • I. 3. From Ronald Sukenick

  2. II. Editor’s Preview

  3. III. Editor’s Prefatory Note

  4. IV. This Is Not the Introduction: Games that Fiction Anthology Editors Play—Towards a Consideration of the Aesthetic Conventions of the Fiction Anthology as a Literary Genre.

    • IV. 1 “. . . Unusual formal principles and aesthetic features . . .”? “. . . despite the inherent fascination involved . . .”?

    • IV. 2 List of Fiction Anthology Categories and Potentially Useful Postmodern Applications

    • IV. 3 Additional Bonus For Critics Developing a Postmodern Aesthetics of the Fiction Anthology Who Are Also Interested in Postmodern Music.

    • IV. 4 Establishing the process of collaborative interactions between anthology’s editorial introduction and fiction selections (a process which joins these two seemingly different forms of discourse into an aesthetic unity; summary of the absurdities, limitations, and inherent deceitfulness that arise from following out-dated approaches to such introductions; sequential listing of the topics resulting from adhering to these conventions.

    • IV. 5 Postmodern Textual Practices and the Editorial Introduction

  5. V. Introduction: Cancelled (See Editor’s Apology)

    • V. 1 Fiction Selections Coded for Postmodernist Features Appendix A: Kathy Acker introductory comments

    • V. 2 Contributors’ Notes

  6. VI. Appendices B, C, D, E, F.

    Fiction Selections in the Issue:

    Kathy Acker, “Obsession”
    Robert Coover, “Title Sequence for The Adventures of Lucky Pierre”
    Ricardo Cruz, “Five Days of Bleeding”
    Rikki Ducornet, “From Birdland
    Rob Hardin, “Dressed to Kill Yourself”
    Annemarie Kemeny, “Attempts on Life”
    Marc Laidlaw, “Great Breakthroughs in Darkness (Being, Early Entries From The Secret Encyclopedia of Photography”)
    William T. Vollmann, “Incarnations of the Murderer”

*III. EDITOR’S PREFATORY NOTE:* Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

I began writing some of the following material in late May and early June 1992, just before I departed San Diego for a nine-week stay in Tokyo to begin work on a project (“Postmodernism in Japan”) funded by an N.E.H. summer research fellowship. Although traces of that initial draft remain embedded in the current version (mostly in Part V), what readers now have before them differs so significantly in content and approach from my earlier drafts that for all practical purposes the two are completely different texts. During that May-June period when I began to develop my editorial introduction, I had already accepted five pieces of fiction for the issue—this out of the total number of six or seven selections, agreed upon by myself and Eyal Amiran, Postmodern Culture’s co-editor, when I accepted his offer to guest-edit a focus of his and John Unsworth’s journal devoted to Postmodern Fiction. Thus I began my editorial introduction assuming that I had only to make an additional one or two selections for the issue, insert a few extra remarks into the draft of my introduction regarding the relevance of the new material to the issue as a whole, contact the authors when I returned from Tokyo on 8–31 to make certain they had sent Eyal their selections on computer...

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