Excerpt from Inside HigherEd

Capitalism vs. Art

One of the fundamental themes of “Seminar,” Rebeck said, is “What does it mean to be an artist in this world we live in now?… What does it mean to be an artist in a capitalist society?”

“I’m not so sure that having the critics endorse you is a sign that you’re a terrific writer,” she added. “It is a sign that you’ll make a lot of money.” Writers and other artists, she said, have, of necessity, come to terms with “how irrational it all is.”

The characters in “Seminar” have all done that in their own way, Rebeck said. Izzy, for example, “is about knowing what she has to offer and exploiting it. … That’s an authentic character out there: people who don’t think, ‘I’m gonna change literature,’ [but rather,] ‘I’m gonna make a lot of money.’ “

While the same issues lie at the heart of (Anis) Shivani’s work, his response is less accommodating. “How is the writer, in our hypercapitalist culture, to survive [without entering academe?]” he writes in Against the Workshop.

“Marry a rich (or at least a self-sufficient) woman; it’s a time-honored custom. Steal, cheat, borrow, lie, move to rural Vermont and live in a shack and grow your own food, do anything but sell your soul to the academy.”

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/02/15/new-broadway-play-and-essay-collection-both-focus-writing-workshops#ixzz1nnaFLg6N
Inside Higher Ed

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