November 11, 2014

The Reproductive & the Perverse Novel -- a manifesto

There are two types of novels, the reproductive and the perverse. 

Reproductive novels are analogous to missionary-position intercourse engaged in for the purpose of producing offspring. 

Perverse novels are like tied-up face-down ball-gag ass-slappin’ doggie-style Greco-Roman three-way pinkie-frottage for the purposelessness of continual shatterings.   

Reproductive novels change diapers, perverse novels wear them for fun.

In reproductive novels there are characters, and in the course of the novel they have an epiphany, which assures them that they have a soul.

In perverse novels there are figures. They have anti-epiphanies or no epiphanies at all, which assures them that they might be trompe l’oeil.   

Reproductive novels are moral, perverse novels revalue values. 

Reality is the scab that forms over arrested and brutalized vitality. The reproductive novel is the band-aid laid over the scab. The perverse novel tears off the band-aid with its teeth, scratches the scab away, worries the wound. 

Reproductive novels have closure, perverse novels are open-ended: legs crossed vs. ass in the air.  

Reproductive novels contribute, in the small way that novels can contribute to anything, to the reproduction of society at the level of the status quo.  

Perverse novels are on a strike that is impossible to tell from a jubilee.

The reproductive novel always speaks in the name of the highest ideals, even – or rather especially – when these are embedded in the homiest of domestic scenes.

The perverse novel is trivial where the reproductive novel is important, anorectic where it is bloated, and chastened where it is proud.

The reproductive novel is original in unimportant ways, the perverse novel derivative in significant ones.

Reproductive novels lay a wreath at the tomb of their ancestors, perverse novels wear the dress their grandmother was buried in to a banquet of their granddaddy’s balls.  

There is a reproductive novel on your nightstand. There is a perverse novel under the mattress on your lover’s side of the bed. 

Beware of faux-perverse novels, always looking over their shoulders to make sure the outraged reproductive novel is not far behind.  (This is often known as “the underground”).
There are reproductive novels which take on a little perversity as inoculation; yesterday’s perversions can become today’s rote reproductive foreplay.  (This is often known as “style”).

Don’t jump to conclusions: there are subtly perverse novels in reproductive-novel drag.

In the reproductive novel you can see yourself, in the perverse novel you feel like a stranger to yourself.

Reproductive novels say, “I am a novel.”  Perverse novels ask, “What is a novel?”

Glance at your watch after reading a reproductive novel, sniff your fingers after reading a perverse novel.

A whole department of the critical-academic-industrial complex is devoted to reading perverse novels reproductively.

Reproductive novels should be read perversely – or not at all.


Jim H. said...

Some particulars/examples might be helpful.

Ola said...

Haha! This is so great!

Traveling Professor said...

Hi Jim H. The reproductive novel serves to reproduce the status-quo. One specific function of literary function is to induce readers to conclude that experiencing deep, powerful feelings about social injustice is a sufficient marker of their humanity, thus reducing the need to actually try to change the world.

The perverse novel does not allow readers the self-satsisfaction of the reproductive novel.

If this makes sense, I'd be interested to see the examples of these approaches that make sense to you.

Steven Augustine said...

"Perverse novels are like tied-up face-down ball-gag ass-slappin’ doggie-style Greco-Roman three-way pinkie-frottage for the purposelessness of continual shatterings."

That's always my favorite aisle in the library!