Thursday, May 05, 2005

speculo, speculavi, speculare, speculatum

In a post of a few days ago I attempted to describe Martin Edmond's genre of writing. I first used the term 'creative prose' but that didn't feel quite right so I amended it to 'speculative prose'. Though I left it there, I still wasn't happy with the phrase. Fiction is easy to define, non-fiction that is as creative as we perceive good fiction to be far harder. Sure there are categories into which things can be fitted – Henry Miller's Colossus of Maroussi can be described as a travel book, Guevara's Bolivian Diaries as autobiography – but they are often a loose fit, & there is still a body of work that doesn't fit into even the single circles of a Venn diagram.

My use of the term 'speculative prose' is, in essence, an oxymoron. I consider Borges' ficciones as speculative fiction that could quite possibly be fact. A small transposition & I ended up with speculative fact which conjured up to me the idiocies of van Donkeyhead's Chariots of the Gods. So, speculative prose as a compromise.

Martin picks up on my dilemma with his own thoughts about & problems & responses he encounters when defining his style. I won't attempt to paraphrase since (a) his post upholds my opinion of his abilities & (b) it can be read simply by clicking here (& read also the post immediately beneath). But I will include part of the quote from Italo Calvino with which he closes the post since it is almost the phrase I had been originally looking for.

"…the more reflective kind of writing in which narrative and essay become one."
 

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