McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern Issue 31: Old Forms Unearthed

Dave Eggars

Barthelme said that “The Novel of the Soil is dead, as are Expressionism, Impressionism, Futurism, Imagism, Vorticism, Regionalism, Realism, the Kitchen Sink School of Drama, the Theatre of the Absurd, the Theatre of Cruelty, Black Humor, and Gongorism.” But he left out, pointedly, the Biji, the Nivola, the Graustarkian Romance, the Consuetudinary, the Whore’s Dialogue, the Fornaldarsaga, and the eighties, which are not dead; they are all in McSweeney’s 31, as rendered by Douglas Coupland, Joy Williams, John Brandon, Shelley Jackson, Mary Miller, and Will Sheff, along with other fugitive genres recaptured by our finest writers, as part of a project to bring them back alive (except for the eighties, there is actually nothing about the eighties). In an oversized format, with annotations, illustrations, and pantoums, Issue 31 aims to introduce you to all the genres you never knew you loved.

status Copy #1 (5362): in
genre Literature and Fiction ยป Anthology
publisher McSweeney's
publish date June 2009
popularity checked out 2 time(s)


  • By Future Man -

    A greatly informative and fun collection. The theme here being to explore under-appreciated or ‘dead’ literary forms. The editor of this issue has included one classic example plucked from history to represent each of the forms and then follows it with work from modern authors experimenting within the boundaries of that form. Each new work also includes annotations from it’s respective author noting how they have attempted to follow the conventions of the form they are imitating.

    Some of the forms in this are really inspiring and fun to read. I especially like the biji, a classical Chinese form which is characterized by a rambling or ranting style often containing anecdotes, quotations, random musings, philological speculations, literary criticism and indeed everything that the author deems worth recording.

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