“Near and Deep as the Thunder Crashed”: what the lyric does to the biographical in fiction

In a 2008 essay, ‘Why Lyric,’ Jonathan Culler goes as far as to argue that the lyric form is opposed to narrative and should not be confused with it. After lamenting what he regards as a prevailing tendency to treat poems as dramatic monologues, aligned with the novel, Culler goes on to state: 


“…it is deadly for poetry to try to compete with narrative—by promoting lyrics as representations of the experience of subjects—on terrain where narrative has obvious advantages” (Culler, 2008: 202).  


Culler does not openly state the fact, but we can only assume; it must be equally “deadly” for novels to try to compete with poems. What role, then, does the lyric play in fiction – especially biographical fiction, a genre that would be seem to be directly involved with the lived experience of “subjects”? Read more →