Friday, September 20, 2013

Geographica Incognita

One of my favorite genres of writing is what might be loosely categorized as facetiæ -- writings which pretend to be something, complete with all its apparatus, but are in fact something else. The genre goes back at least as far as Lucian's True History, and this sense of the word "history" -- as in The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling -- evokes perfectly the form I love most. My novel Pyg is cast in much the same mold.

Some years before that, though, my friend and colleague Jon Hauss and I wrote a shorter text of this kind, giving it the impressive title Geographica Incognita -- "Unknown Geography." It was, like its source texts (Poe's "Descent into a Maelstrom," "MS. Found in a Bottle," and the Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym), framed as a quite serious study, though one undertaken with playful purposes. Jon and I dubbed it a "collapseration." And the editors of the New Orleans Review quite liked it, and published in in 1999 in an issue which is now, happily, available online for free.

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