So That's the Way Scholars of Literature Write These Days

I went over to Google Scholar to test my hypothesis that there must be some scholarship on Dan Brown by now. And indeed there is. Among the first hits is an article by Victoria Nelson entitled "Faux Catholic: A Gothic Subgenre from Monk Lewis to Dan Brown", published in a cultural studies journal called boundary 2 (No, I don't know what boundary 1 is). It begins thus:
We’ve seen it on the big screen any number of times: the possessed woman writhing, screaming, face morphing (courtesy of computer-generated imagery) into a hideous leer as despairing relatives edge prudently away from the imminent prospect of projectile vomiting.

Demon possession, open-and-shut case. Who you gonna call?

Not your rabbi, imam, or Methodist minister. No, you want that Roman Catholic priest with his collar, cross, holy water, and Vulgate Bible—all the papist trappings that Protestant Americans shun in real life but absolutely demand for a convincing on-screen exorcism. A mild-mannered Episcopal reverend, a Southern Baptist preacher in a Men’s Wearhouse suit reciting the Lord’s Prayer in English over that tormented soul? I don’t think so.
If you think the writing style is an ironic take on pop culture, you're mistaken. The topic of Dan Brown is introduced with the phrase, "Looming over it all like the proverbial nine-hundred-pound gorilla is the Dan Brown phenomenon." And if you think that's a parody as well, this time of Brown's writing style in particular, I disagree. Brown would have written something like, "Nine-hundred-pound gorilla Dan Brown phenomenon was looming over it all, his eyes glowing like icicles in the mist."

It's been a while since I've read CultStud, but I don't remember authors aiming to write like sixteen-year-olds. But this just seems to be Mrs. Nelson's style. And, guess what? She teaches creative writing of all disciplines. Here's the somewhat unsettling opening bit from her teaching philosophy: "Teaching writing at the MFA level for me is an empathic act that amounts to entering my students’ imaginations".

Um, thanks, I'd rather not.

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