Departmental Bulletin Paper Generic Instability in Charles Simic’s The Monster Loves His Labyrinth


(Vol.25)  , pp.69 - 75 , 2017-03-15
In this article I discuss how Charles Simic’s 2008 prose collection The Monster Loves His Labyrinth demonstrates the fundamental instability of genre classifi cation. Beginning with a consideration of the book’s apparent genre (a collection of fragmentary prose extracts from a poet’s notebook), I move on to examine how this genre classifi cation is destabilized both by elements of the text and by the book’s relationship to other works in Simic’s oeuvre. In The Monster Loves His Labyrinth, Simic manipulates and subverts the conventions of prose genres in a way that renders how we read Simic’s texts fundamentally unstable and open-ended. The resultant destabilization not only subverts any critical attempts to fi x Simic’s work in a single generic context, but also highlights how genre itself is a malleable concept subject to often arbitrary textual and paratextual features.

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