AD Jameson commented recently that, upon encountering the literary theory of William Gass, fiction itself was opened up to him in a way it hadn’t been before. In other words, Gass’s thoughts about literature directly changed Jameson’s work. This made me wonder how many of us have had this experience, or something like it, and it also made me wonder whether, among those who haven’t had an analogous experience, there is a sense that something is lacking.
Do you have a theory of literature? Do you adhere to one? If so, was it (whether yours or one you’ve adopted) derived from the organic act of writing, or was it rather devised in the abstract, only then to be adhered to in praxis? Do you feel one ought to have or abide by a theory?
If you do not have a theory, why not? Is theory, finally, just something to occupy one’s mind while doing “the important work” of writing fiction/poetry/etc? Or is it more vital, a necessary component to establishing, maintaining or unsettling writerly convention? Where would we be without it?