A Partially Crowd-Sourced and (obviously) Incomplete List of “Experimental” Prose, volunteered (and expanded upon) after the following Facebook status update:
“Dear FB Hive, I'm teaching an "experimental" (yes, I sort of hate that term, too) lit class in the Fall that's pretty heavy in essays and lyric essays, prose poetry, etc., (D'Agata, Shields, Carson, Nelson, Ruefle . . . ) and I have a seemingly endless list of ideas for nonfiction books that are "boundary blurring," but I'm looking for more suggestions at the fiction/nonfiction boundaries. Ideas? (and I don't mean fictionalized memoirs like James Frey's turdbucket). Thanks, awesome people.”
So then I combined my syllabus list with the list generated in response to the FB update (which drew over 70 responses) and I came up with this. I probably missed a few and misspelled some, definitely repeated some books and/or authors. But here it is . . .
Anthologies and Selections from Anthologies: (partially crowd-sourced and incomplete)
THE NEXT AMERICAN ESSAY, ed. by John D’Agata
NO BOUNDARIES, ed. by Ray Gonzalez
BLURRING BOUNDARIES, ed. by BJ Hollars
BENDING GENRE, ed. Margot Singer and Nicole Walker
The following pieces focus on the blurred boundary between short stories and narrative essays, and they are all by Doug Hesse:
"ESSAY FORM AND AUSKOMPONIERUNG." Essays on the Essay, ed. Alexander Butrym. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990. 289-306.
"A BOUNDARY ZONE: FIRST-PERSON SHORT STORIES AND NARRATIVE ESSAYS." Short Story Theory at a Crossroads. Ed. Susan Lohafer and Jo Ellyn Clarey. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989. 85-105.
"DEFINING THE SHORT STORY: A DEMONSTRATION USING WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS' THE DOCTOR STORIES. La Nouvelle De Langue Anglaise: The Short Story. Visions Critiques V. Ed. Claire Larriere. Paris: Sorbonne, 1989. 275-286.
"STORIES IN ESSAYS, ESSAYS AS STORIES." Literary Nonfiction. Edited by Chris Anderson. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989. 176-196.
Nonfiction (partially crowd-sourced and incomplete)
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RED, by Ann Carson
HALLS OF FAME, by John D’Agata
LYING: A METAPHORICAL MEMOIR, by Lauren Slater
BLUETS, by Maggie Nelson
THE MOST OF IT, by Mary Ruefle
REALITY HUNGER: A MANIFESTO, by David Shields
VANISHING POINT, by Ander Monson
PREPARING THE GHOST, by Matthew Gavin Frank
FUN HOME, by Alison Bechdel
BJ Hollars, DISPATCHES FROM THE DROWNINGS
CARRIER, by Bonnie Rough
Fiction: (almost entirely crowd-sourced and incomplete but more comprehensive)
THE GANGSTER WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR, by Le Thi Diem Thuy
Nabokov's PALE FIRE.
Rick Bass' FIBER
Tobias Wolff's OLD SCHOOL
Edouard Leve's SUICIDE and AUTOPORTRAIT.
Patrik Ourednik's EUROPEANA.
Salvador Placensia's THE PEOPLE OF PAPER
RINGS OF SATURN, WG Sebald
SPEEDBOAT and PITCH BLACK, by Renata Adler
Philip Roth's THE FACTS and AMERICAN PASTORAL
NIGHTWOOD, by Djuna Barnes.
BLOOD & GUTS IN HIGH SCHOOL, by Kathy Acker.
SEXING THE CHERRY, by Jeanette Winterson.
BLOODY CHAMBER or SAINTS AND STRANGERS, by Angela Carter, or any of her novels.
SNOW WHITE, by Donald Barthelme.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ALICE B. TOKLAS, by Gertrude Stein
Amy Leach, THINGS THAT ARE
ATLAS, William Vollman
Virginia Woolf's FLUSH and/or ORLANDO.
EDWIN MULLHOUSE: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF AN AMERICAN WRITER 1943-1954 BY JEFFREY CARTWRIGHT by Steven Millhauser (Apr 16, 1996)
Eduardo Galeano BOOK OF EMBRACES
Georges Perec's W: OR THE MEMORY OF CHILDHOOD.
Charles Lamb, esp. "CHRIST'S HOSPITAL, FIVE-AND-THIRTY YEARS AGO."
Michael Martone's THE BLUE GUIDE TO INDIANA
Maxine Hong Kingston, THE WOMAN WARRIOR.
NOV. 22, 1963, by Adam Braver
Kyle Minor's PRAYING DRUNK
Carol Maso's THE ART LOVER.
Samuel R. Delany's THE MOTION OF LIGHT IN WATER.
THE PROFESSOR OF TRUTH by James Robertson
Geoff Dyer's BUT BEAUTIFUL: A BOOK ABOUT JAZZ.
THE THINGS THEY CARRIED, and IN THE LAKE OF THE WOODS, by Tim O’Brien
IN COLD BLOOD, by Truman Capote
Dufresne's REQUIEM, MA
Jamaica Kincaid, SEE NOW THEN.
Kurt Vonnegut, SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5
Jean Paul Sartre, SAINT GENET: ACTOR AND MARTYR
Jenny Offill's DEPT OF SPECULATION and Mary Robison, although I preferred ONE DOA, ONE ON THE WAY to WHY DID I EVER,
Rachel Carson's SILENT SPRING
Sheila Heti's HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE
Knausgaard's MY STRUGGLE.
Diane Di Massa's JOKES AND THE UNCONSCIOUS (graphic novel)
Phoebe Gloeckner's A CHILD'S LIFE
Milan Kundera's SLOWNESS and THE BOOK OF LAUGHTER AND FORGETTING,
John Edgar Wideman's WEIGHT,
Rivka Galchen's ATMOSPHERIC DISTURBANCES
Aleksandar Hemon's THE QUESTION OF BRUNO
Pam Houston's CONTENTS MAY HAVE SHIFTED
Barry Lopez's RESISTANCE.
IN THE AMERICAN GRAIN, William Carlos Williams.
LIFESPAN OF A FACT, Jim Fingal and John D’Agata
HOW TO GET INTO THE TWIN PALMS, by Karolina Waclawiak.
THE VIRGINS, by Pamela Erens.
SOPHIE'S CHOICE, by William Styron.
STORYTELLER, by Leslie Marmon Silko
THE WAY TO RAINY MOUNTAIN, by N. Scott Momaday
Henry David Thoreau, WALDEN AND RESISTANCE TO CIVIL GOVERNMENT
W. E. B. DuBois, THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK
E. B. White, ONE MAN'S MEAT
Truman Capote, IN COLD BLOOD
Jo Ann Beard, BOYS OF MY YOUTH
Dave Eggers, A HEART-BREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS
Joan Connor's THE WORLD BEFORE MIRRORS
Harvey Pekar’s AMERICAN SPLENDOR, THE QUITTER, or MY CANCER YEAR
Marjane Satrapi's PERSEPOLIS
THE AGE OF WIRE AND STRING by Ben Marcus
TREE OF CODES by Jonathan Safran Foer
NOX by Anne Carson
ELECTRONIC LITERATURE by N. Katherine Hayles
Carole Maso's AUREOLE or AVA
David Markson VANISHING POINT or THIS IS NOT A NOVEL
Anais Nin CHILDREN OF THE ALBATROSS
Fanny Howe LIVES OF THE SPIRIT and GLASSTOWN.
BETTY SUPERMAN by Tiff Holland
SO LONG, SEE YOU TOMORROW by William Maxwell
Hardwick's SLEEPLESS NIGHTS
Subset of Main List: Short Stories or Collections of Short Stories that Behave in Some Way like Essays or Collections of Essays, or Essays and Collections of Essays that Behave like Stories or Collections of Stories:
Thom Jones’ story, “A PUGILIST AT REST”
Jo Ann Beard, her story/essay, “COYOTES,” and her essay, “WERNER”
Lydia Davis’s short stories
Amy Hempel’s short stories
BIRDS OF AMERICA, by Lorrie Moore
THE THINGS THEY CARRIED, by Tim O’Brien
Ernest Hemingway, THE NICK ADAMS STORIES
NEBRAKSA, by Ron Hansen
Geoff Dyer's "BUT BEAUTIFUL"
Scott McClanahan's "HILL WILLIAM" and "CRAPALACHIA."