This paper argues that the forms poetry and prose are not fixed, their conventions are ever changing and should this prove to be true, it then follows that genre conventions attached to these forms are also in a constant state of flux. This paper endeavours to prove this theory through the use of these forms, and by evaluating the use of the genre conventions; magic realism by way of socio-political realities and Avant-gardism. The prose narrative â€˜Academiaâ€™ was composed for this paper.
AcademiaÂ â€œAs it would seem the dice is rolled and no matter its stance the bells do toll as the rotting echoes pierce the long halls and evaluations have become controlled only to be activated by figured dolls as their marionetted strings pull bloodied cords to reveal creative form.
The exhaled inhales mist stonewalls and drivel stale breath along carved stalls which house the ablauts of both young and old only to be determined through blind recalls and should its trial be revealed and the hunched backed toll-man fated seals visibly relate its sacred deals then all shall but implode.
The verse ‘Academia’ reveals, through the use of both poetry and prose that it is more than possible to use both in unison, or separate. It could be argued that ‘Academia’ is poetry, and not prose, and that the socio-politicism delivered through Avant-gardism relates merely cultural observationisms rather than the genre forms it has been designated beneath. It contains concluding words that do not rhyme and is presented in a ‘humdrum manner (Bascom, Jan. – Mar., 1965),’ as it is said that much historic gothic style prose is said to have related. By concluding with the word ‘implode,’ a non-rhyming word, it alters the makeup of this verse, to create a piece that could now be considered poetic prose. Yet the use of this word also alters the form of the piece to relate a stream of consciousness that seeks to question real world societal and academic practices. Yet at the end of it all, sadly it was revealed to make no sense at all to the intended audience.
Wellek and Warren argue that poetry is merely rhetoric, because for them, ‘if the art does not persuade any outward action in its literary form, then it is not a text or art that performs as genuine poetry does (Morson, Winter, 1979).’ However, Wellek and Warren concede that ‘Art’ can impose a type of framework that is able to move from the pages it has been composed on, and become an almost tangible product in the real world (Morson, Winter, 1979).’ Socio-political realities can be related through the use of poetic prose form and become art. It has the ability to utilise many genres beneath the poetic prose banner to express ideologies concerning perceived cultural norms.
Cultural norms can both validate and challenge genres, especially in the case of poetic prose, due to a freedom not readily available for many other genre conventions. Avant-gardism frees up the artists use of the written word concerning their observations and it allows a freedom to express socio-political realities that are both interactive and observational expressionisms. These artists can relate political views by way of concealed messages using the genre convention Avant-gardism. Poetry prose provides an endless scope for human imagination thereby maintaining that any genre alters conventions under these forms, across time, across cultures and across conventions. ‘Academia’ though, could also fall under the genre convention ‘transgressive dirty realism,’ but its topic could only reveal itself to those within an academic environment. It could fall under this convention because it relates personal political revelations and observations concerning academic institutionalism, it reveals an openness that would be considered undesirable within any learning institution.
To an outsider, ‘Academia,’ is merely a poetic prose that utilises magic realism to relate a perceived socio-political reality from an imaginary perspective. The use of the hunchback would blind side the unawares into believing the piece to be gothic fiction, where as the hunchback is symbolic of historical institutional control and social stigma (Boundless, 2013), that has been used many times to relate a political statement about society’s ills (SparkNotes, n.d.).
A social and political commentary delivered through the use of Avant-gardism under the form poetry prose reveals an elasticity that Art in all its forms has the ability to utilise, to modify its outward appearance and underlying messages. ‘In literature the broadest division is between poetry, prose and drama,’ notes Daniel Chandler in his ‘Introduction to Genre Theory (Chandler, 1997)’. Beneath these forms, there is an entire world of imagination and possibilities open to manipulations, exaggerations and fissions (Barr, 2000). As Jacques Derrida notes, ‘genres need to be mixed, it is almost impossible not to mix genres (Derrida, Autumn, 1980).’
Barrs ‘Genre Fission’ ideology is related by Barr as being; a peculiarity, positioned in the mind of an individual, of something that is usually perceived to be different, or distinct but now has the ability to produce new critical or cultural insights (Barr, 2000). This importantly reveals that genre conventions are not fixed and that they have always changed over time and across cultures, it only becomes more apparent when a converging of cultures from across the world display their crafts side by side. Avant-gardism only provides an umbrella term to encompass genre conventions that have always been played out in fission events, much like outsider arts (Yimin, 2014) have. Historic inventions and applications of new techniques and discoveries have all quietly functioned beneath the canopy of established cultural norms that have flourished widely in an auxiliary manner, to create new and ever evolving genre conventions that are not always recognised in their beginnings.
As the famous painter Leonardo da Vinci (Story, 1452-1519) and his artistic creations later revealed to a more modern era, art can be many things at the same time. Just as genres can bleed into each other, Da Vinci’s artwork moved from the intangible to tangible functionalities that transcended the canvas and became actual physical inventions that mostly functioned as he saw them (Bellis, 2014). They became more than the art itself and this is the ability that genre fissioning under Avant-gardism can bring to literature also.
The poetic prose ‘Academia’ is a challenge to the status quo of institutional learning. Using Avant-gardism as a genre, it allowed for a freedom of authorship and impunity from loss. An umbrella affect of poetry prose has been utilised to provide form for these genres to work beneath. The argument of whether genre conventions are fixed or if they change over time and across cultures has been considered through the genre conventions of magic realism by way of socio-political realities. It has achieved this through the use of the Hunchback imagery, a character that survives even today in a world of conservatisms and radical ideologies by way of Avant-gardism.
It is said that the German art critic Franz Roh (Historians, 1890-1965) coined the phrase ‘Magic realism’ in 1925 to describe a form of post expressionist painting that he had witnessed the development of (Bowers, 2004). Magic realism is able to combine many different elements under its categorisation, including socio-political reality. ‘Academia’ is both social and political, it achieves this titling because it seeks to express an observation from a sociological point of view, but because its content, or message relates to an institution, it automatically becomes political because its message would be viewed as protest.
Genre conventions of more formal and antiquated times, are now largely viewed as more of a guide than a rule. Formal structures of genres have become categorisations that function as canopies for new modernised genre conventions such as ‘factions (Chandler, 1997a’ and ‘fan fictions.’ The speed at which genre fission is practiced today is only rivalled by the ever-expanding universe that houses our planet, to which human beings have become genre fissions in action.
Everything can be a category, a genre or form. All things depend upon the perspective of the creator at the time of creation. Genre conventions are not fixed, they have altered with the course of time and their function has become more fluidic as once more human beings operate in a state of flux. Time has seen to these alterations and some cultures have always viewed genre conventions more differently than others have. These alterations do not infer death of genre conventions, these alterations only prove to make room within established conventions for new and emerging genres that are on their way, to be canopied beneath the old.
Barr, M. S., 2000. A New Discourse Practice for Cultural Studies. In: Genre Fission. Iowa: University of Iowa Press, p. ix.
Bascom, W., Jan. – Mar., 1965. The Forms of Folklore: Prose Narratives. The Journal of American Folklore, 78(307), p. 3.
Bellis, M., 2014. Inventors About.Com: Inventions of Leonardo DaVinci. [Online] Available at: http://inventors.about.com/od/dstartinventors/ig/Inventions-of-Leonardo-DaVinci/ [Accessed 3rd February 2014].
Boundless, 2013. Deviance and Social Stigma. [Online] Available at: https://www.boundless.com/sociology/understanding-deviance-social-control-and-crime/deviance/deviance-and-social-stigma/ [Accessed 31st Jan 2014].
Bowers, M. A., 2004. Magic(al) Realist Painting. In: Magic(al) Realism: The new critical idiom. Belgium: Psychology Press, p. 110.
Chandler, D., 1997a. Appendix 1: Taxonomies of genres . In: An Introduction to Genre Theory. s.l.:s.n., p. 12.
Chandler, D., 1997. The problem of definition . In: An Introduction to Genre Theory . Wales: Aberystwyth University, p. 1.
Derrida, J., Autumn, 1980. The Law of Genre. Critical Inquiry, 7(1), p. 80. Historians, D. o. A., 1890-1965. Dictionary of Art Historians: Roh, Franz. [Online] Available at: http://www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/rohf.htm [Accessed 3rd February 2014].
Morson, G. S., Winter, 1979. Socialist Realism and Literary Theory. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 38(2), p. 123.
SparkNotes, n.d. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo: Analysis. [Online] Available at: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/hunchback/section13.rhtml [Accessed 31st Jan 2014].
Story, B. T., 1452-1519. Leonardo da Vinci biography. [Online] Available at: http://www.biography.com/people/leonardo-da-vinci-40396 [Accessed 3rd February 2004].
Yimin, J., 2014. Outsider Art: What Is Outsider Art?: Defining Art and Artists. [Online] Available at: http://www.outsiderart.info/what_is_outsider_art.htm [Accessed 3rd February 2014].