What kind of a person does Theory make? What did it once mean to have read theorists? What does it mean now? How does Theory help you hold a job? Deal with lovers, children, bosses, and parents? Decide between the restricted alternatives of adulthood? If novelistic realism aspires to be a history of the present, that present now includes — in the educations of writers themselves — the Theory that relegates novelistic realism to the past.
Now we live in the kingdom of fact: of information and the means to gather it, but also, more recently, of personal narrative and the means to disseminate it. Social media, webcams, YouTube (“Broadcast Yourself”)—but even before all that, the confessionality of daytime talk shows. Hence we’ve also come to live in the age of memoir. Fiction is still prominent but under increasing commercial and ideological attack
He was nursing yesterday’s adventure—pleasure and bruises. He wanted to see her again, to find a way through her armor, down to the honest if mistaken core that drove her candid tongue, to be her full confessor, to share the weight of her past, even if it stained him. Today his sense of worth seemed tied to her, resting on her approval, her friendship, her admiration of his intellect as a peer.