Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane is a either a campus anti-novel or an anti-campus novel, or both. It is an anti-novel in the sense that it has no interest in the novel’s conventions. Characters are mere cyphers. There’s no ‘fine writing’ in its description. The anti-novel is relentless in its refusal of a redemptive dimension to the ‘literary’ as that which sets its petit-bourgeois readers above the world of capital and violence.
It’s fitting then, that its setting is the campus. If the literary was one space of petit-bourgeois redemption, the campus has remained the other. As if by the teaching of culture, a realm of aesthetic contemplation could be carved out of a venal world. Its striking how, in the English context, cultural studies never got that far away from its original impetus in the work of F. R. Leavis. Home’s book is about the death of that impetus, and its replacement by a purely market-based hierarchy of cultural values.
Above Stewart Home at Project Number Gallery in London during the Foam exhibition in which he participated.