Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What is Nicholas Rombes reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Nicholas Rombes, whose books include Cinema in the Digital Age (Wallflower Press / Columbia University Press) and the forthcoming A Cultural Dictionary of Punk: 1974-1982, (Continuum, June 2009. He is professor and Chair of English at the University of Detroit Mercy.

His entry begins:
I used to make distinctions between academic and non-academic reading, but not any more. Over the past few years, I've found that most all good writing, on some level, is a form of theory, whether it be Nathaniel Hawthorne's Pierre, or Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves. Both of those books, in particular, are novels, but also theories about the forging together of arbitrary signs in order to create the illusion of reality. But right now, I'm still working my way—in fits and starts—through William T. Vollmann's mammoth, seven-volume study of violence Rising Up and Rising Down, published in 2003 by McSweeney's books. Right now I'm on "The Moral Calculus" Vollmann's recklessly, brutally, not-so-funny attempt to logically, empirically, almost mathematically answer the question, "When is Violence Justified?" Sections include "When is Violent Defense of Honor Justified?" and "When is Violent Defense of Race and Culture Justified?" Vollmann is one of those writers tagged as "postmodern" in the sense that his excessiveness seems to be a strategy for coping with and encompassing the sheer size of reality.

This may seem like a silly thing to say, I know, for...[read on]
Visit Nicholas Rombes's websites for Cinema in the Digital Age and A Cultural Dictionary of Punk: 1974-1982.

Writers Read: Nicholas Rombes.

--Marshal Zeringue