As a genre that confounds the distinction between fiction and non-fiction, fictocriticism continues to gain currency. It solves a problem for researchers and writers who do not wish to be held to that somewhat artificial division, and who consider their research methods necessarily to include the stylistic experiments that show their research and thought processes. Research, knowledge of the world, that continues to be ‘written up’, ‘after the fact’ in the usual academic genres, has a tendency to re-inscribe the status quo. The world stays the way it is; change, surprise and experiment elude the writer.
Stephen Muecke, one of the originators of fictocritical writing, presents a selection of his best essays in this innovative genre. In doing so he offers a rare and important theorization of the potential of speculative methods across disciplines including Literary Studies, Philosophy, Anthropology, Geography, and Science and Technology Studies.
Introduction: What is Fictocritical Writing? / Part I: Indigenous Australia / 1. Don McLeod’s Law: The Genesis of the Aboriginal Concept of the Strike / 2. The Mother’s Day Protest / 3. The Great Tradition: Translating Durrudiya’s Songs / 4. Can you Argue with the Honeysuckle? / Part II: After Critique / 5. Motorcycles, Snails, Latour: Criticism without Judgement / 6. Reproductive Aesthetics: Multiple Realities in a Seamus Heaney Poem / 7. An experiment with truth and beauty in cultural studies / Part III: Speculative Histories / 8. A Diplomat for the History Wars / 9. Speculating with History: The Wreck of the Sydney Cove / 10. A Touching and Contagious Captain Cook: Thinking History through Things / Part IV: Ecologies of Place/ 11. The composition and decomposition of commodities: the colonial careers of coal and ivory / 12. Picture that Cyclone / 13. Berlin Babylon/ 14. I Had a Dream in Tropical Islands Resort in Berlin. Was it Real?/ Conclusion/ Bibliography
Stephen Muecke is Professor of Ethnography at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.
Muecke is the wizard of fictocriticism. Here, he stretches a canvas over the speculative realism of events, worlds, and modes of being now. Hyperobjects and a stirring wind, indigeneity and the tapping at the keyboard, are lines of momentum pulling theory into critical proximity to the intimate tones and animating impurities of matters of concern.
For over twenty years, Stephen Muecke has been the key international force in fictocriticism. His work embodies the best of this exciting hybrid, weaving spells of truth and imagination that readers will adore and admire in equal measure.