TABLE OF CONTENTS

CRITICAL FICTIONS

Ipsodefacto

WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE does this age—the last decade of the second millennium—demand from us? How can we possibly express it? We have seen the Berlin Wall pulled down, the massacre of students in Tiananmen Square; been witnesses, via the television, to Soviet troops in Azerbaijan; read of purges in Romania, Bulgaria, and Mongolia; watched as a playwright, Vaclav Havel, assumed leadership in one country, while another leader, Nelson Mandela, was freed from imprisonment in another. Closer to home, we have been barraged with the extremities of physical pain, personal loss, and societal dislocation marked by the AIDS crisis and the growing number of the homeless.

There is a sense of “too muchness” about the culture—too many images, too much information, too little time to digest them, or come to terms with them, matched by an awareness that events have accelerated beyond our control. Psychologically,

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