There are countless theoretical arguments that attempt to define “major” and “minor” literatures, but this lively and deeply felt work is one of the first to speak from the authority of the experience of being minor—of being the “minor writer” who, according to the definition of “author” given by Michel Foucault, does not possess a “name.” This book, then, is an impassioned critical and ethical defense of the act of writing for purposes other than critical acclaim.
In the tradition of Horace'sArs Poetica,
Gilliland uses comments by a broad range of writers, as well as her own experience as a minor woman writer, to consider the basic Horatian questions of purpose, choice of subject matter and genre, diction, characterization, setting, and style. She points out that in the absence of major recognition, the minor writer is continually confronted by the existential question, why do I (still) write? This book offers not only a challenge to existing critical theories but an argument in favor of being—forstill
being, for continuinganyway
with one's life and art