Bernard Page 11
willingly we are duped and learn to suspect any language that tempts too comfortably our belief.

. . .

The literature of possibility: There is another, maybe more hopeful, approach for the conscientious writer to his ambiguous calling. Just as language can be understood as reflective of actual things, people, events, however tenuously, it can also be understood as projective, as subjunctive - under the sign, not of the real, but of the possible. What is usually called "literature" (poetry, fiction, etc.) is especially well-placed to pursue the subjunctive in the broadest sense: it can be an exploration, not only of the practically possible (the purview of "realism"), but more interestingly, I think, of the logically or linguistically possible such as can be found in the writings of Gertrude Stein, of the Russian novelist

Andrei Biely, of Joyce, the surrealist novels of the 20s, the explorations of Borges, Garcia Marquez, and the Latin American poets and novelists, the nouveau roman of the 50s and 60s, the postmodern fictions of Gaddis and Pynchon, the Bay Area language poets and writers of the 70s, and so on.

There are those who, for whatever reason, reject these "literary experiments" or believe that the period for them is substantially over; that the approach of literary modernism has been tried and found wanting by most readers. But I think this is untrue: what is occurring now~a cultural reaction to the literary modernists and their followers (see, for example, the attacks on such works as "The Waste Land" and Ulysses by Christopher Hitchens, Jonathan Franzen's notorious attack in the New Yorker on William Gaddis, or B. R. Meyer's provocative A Reader's Manifesto)~is simply another instance of culture lag, more