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The Imperative Mood: A Collection of Stories

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The United States is an uneasy palimpsest of the West’s myths and stories, with classical and biblical forms scrawled across new geographic and social realities. Yet while these foundational stories continue to enjoy a certain cultural prestige, they are of ever diminishing relevance: Homer is on The Simpsons, Athens is in Georgia, and the Christian narratives––once religious truth––now approach a moral and cultural equivalence with their Greco-Roman counterparts. As particular collections of stories, they have become unmoored from the culture built around them. To investigate the consequences of this transformation, my collection of short stories will take its characters and scenarios from the Christian Bible and Greco-Roman myth, but its logic, priorities, and settings from the American human and their country: freeway construction will become indistinguishable from that of a cathedral, Theseus and the Minotaur will meet the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, and Pontius Pilate will have his writing workshopped. By forcing these foundational sources of the West to occupy the same narrative space, I explore how they are made different, and understood differently, within a culture simultaneously forgetting, rejecting, and reinterpreting them.

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The Imperative Mood: A Collection of Stories

The United States is an uneasy palimpsest of the West’s myths and stories, with classical and biblical forms scrawled across new geographic and social realities. Yet while these foundational stories continue to enjoy a certain cultural prestige, they are of ever diminishing relevance: Homer is on The Simpsons, Athens is in Georgia, and the Christian narratives––once religious truth––now approach a moral and cultural equivalence with their Greco-Roman counterparts. As particular collections of stories, they have become unmoored from the culture built around them. To investigate the consequences of this transformation, my collection of short stories will take its characters and scenarios from the Christian Bible and Greco-Roman myth, but its logic, priorities, and settings from the American human and their country: freeway construction will become indistinguishable from that of a cathedral, Theseus and the Minotaur will meet the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, and Pontius Pilate will have his writing workshopped. By forcing these foundational sources of the West to occupy the same narrative space, I explore how they are made different, and understood differently, within a culture simultaneously forgetting, rejecting, and reinterpreting them.