The New ‘Coterie’: Writing, Community and Collective
Keywords:Publishing, Print on Demand, coterie, emerging writers
AbstractIn Gangland: Cultural Elites and the New Generationalism (1997) Mark Davis outlined the increasing nepotism of the Australian literary establishment along generational lines. Post-Gangland, ‘coterie’ has become a dirty word, even as the literary becomes more and more of a niche market. Yet, literary coteries have been with us prior to the British early modern era and through to (and beyond) Anglo-American modernism. It seems ironic to dispense with ideas of coterie at a time when changing modes of communication and publication are producing both fragmentation and possibilities for new literary communities, exceeding the endist (and endless) rhetoric of decline. If, as Perry argues, ‘the notion of coterie production offers a useful way to think about the kinds of networks that provided the social occasions for a great deal of literary production’ (108) in the court culture of the Renaissance, might productive parallels be drawn with contemporary literary production in the era of social networking? I’m particularly interested in how coterie, community and collective are operating for younger writers post-Gangland, beyond the ubiquitous ‘emerging writers’ moniker. In what ways does ‘insider trading’ continue to play a vital part in communities of writing and reading, considering the dissolving boundaries between writing, reading, publishing, networking and socialising?
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