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Literary Collage A comprehensive overview. Origin Literary Collage is rooted in the personal essay, which was established by Michel de Montagine. Essayer,

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Presentation on theme: "Literary Collage A comprehensive overview. Origin Literary Collage is rooted in the personal essay, which was established by Michel de Montagine. Essayer,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Literary Collage A comprehensive overview

2 Origin Literary Collage is rooted in the personal essay, which was established by Michel de Montagine. Essayer, Essai = To try

3 The Basics The basic structure of collage involves: One central metaphor Three or more interweaving “threads”

4 What is a metaphor? A metaphor is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common. A metaphor expresses the unfamiliar (the tenor) in terms of the familiar (the vehicle). Examples: heart of stone, apple of my eye, dead tired, run like the wind

5 Central metaphor A central metaphor is the main idea (or in some ways the thesis) of your literary collage. Everything you write should be tied back in some way to this main idea. The key function is organizational. The secondary function is that this structure allows you to talk about yourself in relation to the larger world. Examples: Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, in which the central metaphor is the color blue.

6 Threads In literary collage, threads are used to express different ideas about one central theme. Example: In Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, threads include loss of romantic love, a friend’s suffering, and art vs. suffering. All these threads relate back to the central metaphor: in this case, the color blue.

7 Collage works pointillistically Many pieces make up the whole

8 Collage works like a web When plot shapes a narrative, it ’ s like knitting a scarf. You have this long piece of string and many choices about how to knit, but we understand a sequence is involved, a beginning and an end, with one part of the weave very logically and sequentially connected to the next. You can figure out where the beginning is and where the last stitch is cast off. Webs look orderly, too, but unless you watch the spider weaving, you ’ ll never know where it started. You have to decide for yourself how to read its patterning, but if you pluck it at any point, the entire web will vibrate.

9 How is literary collage different from other forms? Literary collage does not depend on traditional narrative structure or plot. It seeks an evolution beyond narrative and is a different approach to capturing how we think, feel, and understand.

10 Typically in a movie: Plot point A (minute 27) catalyzes action The pinch (minute 60) reverses action of the film Plot point B (minute 85) seals the action of the film Big gloom (minute 95) when everything goes to shit Finale (minute ) Literary Collage rejects the notion that our world is whole and orderly as suggested by traditional narrative. Collage aims to reflect the fractured world we live in and the way our thoughts move associatively to create meaning.

11 How is literary collage different from other forms? There are no characters. Literary collage is about the personal experiences and inner workings of the writer, people in the writer’s life, and other writers and artists the author admires. People should be described in order to capture the essence of who they are as briefly as possible (rather than developing a character over time) and should, if possible, serve an allegorical or symbolic function. Example: In Sarah Manguso’s The Guardians, her friend who committed suicide becomes a way for her to talk about life and death.

12 How is literary collage different from other forms? The focus in on brevity. The average length of a work of literary collage is 185 pages or 32,000 words. Every sentence in literary collage should be crucial, reiterate the meaning of the central metaphor, and pierce the reader through the heart. Literary collage rejects the lengthy 19th century novel form.

13 What are the central philosophies of literary collage? Write the book you’re qualified to write “Every man has within himself the entire human condition.” --Montaigne Use everything at your disposal to say what you need to say “All great works of literature either dissolve a genre or invent one.” --Benjamin Write what matters “ We ’ re existentially alone on the planet. I can ’ t know what you ’ re thinking and feeling and you can ’ t know what I ’ m thinking and feeling. And the very best works construct a bridge across that abyss of human loneliness. ” --Wallace “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us” » --Kafka

14 What kinds of things go into a literary collage? Personal essay Fiction Nonfiction Poetry Journalism Autobiography Literary Criticism Lyrics Paintings, drawings, visual art Journal Entries Dreams Anything, so long as it helps you talk about your central metaphor.

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16 What does literary collage look like?

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24 Mixed Media Collage John Bresland’s “Ode To Everything” Kristen Radtke’s “That Kind Of Daughter” daughter


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