Short Fiction for Fictive Times by Evan Martinak
21st March 2017
Of the word of the year selections for 2016, Merriam-Webster picked "surreal" and I think this is the correct choice. In French literature writers like André Breton and poet Paul Eluard firmly established themselves as writers of the surrealist tradition which is a category rarely attributed to American or British writers.
Today instead we use the term post-modernism for contemporaries of the French surrealists, a term which everyone agrees was influenced by surrealism, but no one agrees on its official definition. You can see traces of the movement in the writings of Rimbaud, Poe, and some of the old Russian masters, for example Dostoyevsky's richly comic story in which a man is swallowed whole by a crocodile and decides living in its stomach is preferable to the outside world. In 2017, one sympathizes more and more with the man inside the crocodile.