‘The outside after all must be right there beside me’: Claire-Louise Bennett’s Pond and post-critical perspective

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Abstract

Claire-Louise Bennett’s Pond has been widely acknowledged as one of the most striking and significant debut novels of recent years. While much praised, however, the nature of the novel’s contemporaneity has proved somewhat resistant to elaboration. The present essay offers one such elaboration, following the motif of perspective as it plays its way through Bennett’s narrative. Perspective in its modern conceptualization is understood not only in relation to the theory and practice of picturing, and as a highly mobile metaphor for cognition and narration, but also as a medium in the sense proposed by the art critic Rosalind E. Krauss. By following the motif, staying close to the novel rather than succumbing to a critical ‘aboveness’ that Bennett herself mistrusts, the working of perspective is shown to be one significant aspect of Pond’s contemporaneity. On this basis, an interpretative link is made between Bennett’s novel and what has come to be known as a post-critical orientation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTextual Practice
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Contemporary fiction; Claire-Louise Bennett; post-critical; postmodernist fiction; perspective

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