The ability to shortcut meaning and critical discussion within a fictional text, makes Fictocriticism an exciting genre to work in. If the writer is not bound by the purely subjective/objective constraints which divide fiction from nonfiction, then the writer is as Hazel Smith found in her work The Erotics of Gossip free to critically engage with an audience in a playful and yet thought provoking manner (Smith 2009). Anna Gibbs, in her stream of consciousness poetic discourse, which flows from explanation into an almost hallucinogenic example of fictocritical writing, and Majena Mafe’s manifesto, are both works which defy easy classification. As Gibbs says, “It is not translation or transposition: it says something which can’t be said in any other way.” (Gibbs, 1997) Although not easily understandable, fictocriticism offers the writer a new way to look at the world.
A new way to look at the world is exactly what Michael Taussig does in his anthropological work, challenging the orthodox approach to anthropology. Looking both at how the language of ethnography creates as much as it records a culture, and at how storytelling can reconcile both the contradictions of a culture and create an understanding of deeply disturbing and seemingly self-defeating cultural practices. (Eakin, 2001)
Ultimately, fictocriticism is not a genre which will ever be easy to define nor will it depose the traditional modes of storytelling and academic writing. As a genre which seeks critical engagement with a reader it is one which enables us to engage in playful and unique ways with material which might otherwise go unchallenged. It is certainly a form of writing with which I will be continuing to investigate and experiment.
Eakin, E, 2001, Anthropology’s Alternative Radical, Crab Rutgers, viewed 6th August 2014, http://crab.rutgers.edu/~goertzel/fictocriticism.htm.
Gibbs, A, 1997, Bodies Of Words: Feminism And Fictocriticism – Explanation And Demonstration, Text, viewed 6th August 2014, http://www.textjournal.com.au/oct97/gibbs.htm
Mafe, M, 2009, Grappled Steps In The Method-Making Of Writing ... (A Maryfesto), Outskirts, viewed 6th August 2014, http://www.outskirts.arts.uwa.edu.au/volumes/volume-20/mafe
Muller, N, 2013, Sophie and the wolf – A Hypertext story, viewed 9th August 2014, http://sophieandthewolf.weebly.com/
Smith, H, 2009, “The Erotics of Gossip: Fictocriticism, Performativity, Technology”, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, vol. 19, no.3, pp. 403-412, viewed 6th August 2014, http://ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=46723056&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Smith, H, 2004, Cursors And Crystal Balls: Digital Technologies And The Future Of Writing, Text, viewed 6th August 2014, http://www.textjournal.com.au/oct04/smith.htm