Join 3,432 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


this petty-bourgeois uptightness, this terror of not being in control, this schoolboy desire to boast and to shock
July 29, 2010 3:46 AM   Subscribe

The 2010 Booker longlist is out, and it seems that most of the buzz in the UK is about who's not on the list. The Guardian article "Amis-free Booker prize longlist promises to 'entertain and provoke'" introducing the list of 13 nominees actually devotes its headline, subhead, and most of the first four paragraphs to the subject of who's missing in action: Amis, McEwan, Rushdie. Elsewhere in the Guardian Books section, research professor Gabriel Josipovici pulls no punches in including these (former?) darlings of the glitterati in his assertion that Feted British authors are limited, arrogant and self-satisfied, compares them to "prep-school boys showing off," calls them "virtually indistinguishable from one another in scope and ambition," and muses that the fact that they have won so many awards is "a mystery."

In a related, short and rather odd "Expert view" apologia by another academic, Park Honan seems to know exactly where to place the blame for such perceived failings. It's all because of the electronic age, apparently. "We are becoming superficial. I think Amis is trying very hard to find a language which will somehow suit this speed we live under," he says, adding that in "a world where you can find out about anything in two minutes... Novelists are anxious about the medium, the form and its language." Hmmmm?
posted by taz (50 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I hope this year's Booker introduces many more readers to Lisa Moore, who is fantastic.
posted by oulipian at 3:56 AM on July 29, 2010


Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan have been writing since the Seventies, and Martin Amis since the Eighties. Not sure what aspects of the electronic age they're struggling with. The relentless speed and consumption propagated by Pac Man? The agonizing choice between a Filofax and a Psion Personal Organizer?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:56 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I dislike amis and mcewan, honestly. To me they feel "slight." Kind of odd to put rushdie in the same category, though.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:00 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Always an opportunity to discover new (to you) writers. It's not as if Amis and McEwan automatically merit inclusion because of who who they are. Maybe these listed were simply better.
posted by cmgonzalez at 4:04 AM on July 29, 2010


Someone should get Gabriel Josipovici a MeFi account. It sounds like he'd fit right in around here.
posted by hippybear at 4:13 AM on July 29, 2010


I read McEwan's "Solar" last week, and can easily believe all the books on the longlist are much better. I kind of agree with Josipovici.
posted by dickasso at 4:18 AM on July 29, 2010


Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan have been writing since the Seventies, and Martin Amis since the Eighties. Not sure what aspects of the electronic age they're struggling with. The relentless speed and consumption propagated by Pac Man? The agonizing choice between a Filofax and a Psion Personal Organizer?

Martin Amis was once a big Space Invaders fan and even published a potboiler about it, Invasion of the Space Invaders, which includes his tips for scoring big. It's never been reprinted, sadly.
posted by Mocata at 4:48 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


He said: "Reading Barnes, like reading so many other English writers of his generation – Martin Amis, McEwan – leaves me feeling that I and the world have been made smaller and meaner. The irony which at first made one smile, the precision of language which was at first so satisfying, the cynicism which at first was used only to puncture pretension, in the end come to seem like a terrible constriction, a fear of opening oneself up to the world.
Anyone who can read Flaubert's Parrot or Arthur and George says volumes about himself and nothing about Julian Barnes. It must be hard for largely irrelevant academics who live in the shadows of authors like Barnes, Amis, McEwan and Rushdie.

But who cares that the Booker has not award Barnes or Amis a prize? Both are brilliant authors whose best works will probably stand the test of time. They have both recieved aclaim and admiration without the prize, they don't need the prize. The prize helped McEwan and Rushdie enormously and it is such a good prize because it did.

The Booker Prize is so cool because it will find the next Barnes and Amis, not the current ones. Contrast this to the Nobel Prize that awards relics whose best years are behind them.
posted by sien at 5:02 AM on July 29, 2010


I've always found Amis, McEwan and Rushdie to be just about unreadable... I did make it to the end of London Fields a few years ago but found it very slight.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:03 AM on July 29, 2010


Err, first sentence not from the quote should read:

Anyone who can read Flaubert's Parrot or Arthur and George [and say that] says volumes about himself etc.

I blame the nice bottle of red I just opened.
posted by sien at 5:06 AM on July 29, 2010


While I have some sympathy with Josipovici's criticisms, there is something a little too predictable and familiar to these debates about the state of literary fiction and/or the future of the novel and/or the ability of the novel to remain a valid medium, etc.

Every few years, it seems, something like this seems to arise: for instance, there was the 2005 Marcus vs. Franzen brouhaha, about the merits of experimental fiction (specifically, Gaddis), a flap which Cynthia Ozick also chimed in on. And then there was Tom Wolfe's 1989 essay (like the Marcus piece, also in Harper's, natch) in favor of a return to realism (so-called) in fiction.

Part of what seems unclear is that these debates are often two debates conflated into one: the first is a debate about style, structure and literary history (primarily about the merits of modernist experimentation vs. traditional narrative structure or story), and the second is a debate the prospect of the novel as a medium (i.e. about whether or not the novel can remain relevant enough to compete with cinema, or the internet, or what have you).

It's not surprising that these two debates always end up getting mixed up with each other, but it's hard for me to feel very strongly about these questions. I'm more interested in the fact that these debates seem to function as a way for literary culture in general to work through its own fears (whether justfied or not) about the demise of the novel.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 5:12 AM on July 29, 2010


I loved The Satanic Verses and all, but if Luka and the Fire of Life is anything like his most recent novel, The Enchantress of Florence, then Rushdie can't possibly deserve the Booker for this 'un.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:19 AM on July 29, 2010


I see Amis as a bit of an irrelevance today - the Julie Burchill of lit-fic. When I was a student in the early 00s, almost nobody read him. It seems the only people still reading Amis are the people still reading Amis.

Also, never read The Rachel Papers if you are female and still a virgin. Better advertisement for abstinence than any Texan religion lesson.


I do like Alan Warner a lot. Whenever I go to the zoo I think of his sleevenotes to the Cocteau Twins best-of I have, and how he wrote of getting a new album and taking it to Edinburgh Zoo. The fandom of one of the girls in The Sopranos for the Cocteaus and 'that Jap in the German band' for taking language and making it their own has always stuck with me. I can't see Amis, or any of his characters, ever strapping on a pair of headphones to let words and music flood in in front of the monkey bars. Maybe that's why I never quite 'got' him.
posted by mippy at 5:22 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's an interesting selection of books. I haven't read any yet but the Alan Warner, for example, looks very good.

(I don't read hardbacks out of principle; the principle being that paperbacks take up much less space).

I think it's good that they use the list to bring lots of books to a wider public, and the new innovation of putting out the long list does this well, but I've not faith in the Booker judges getting it right.

Mippy's assessment of Martin Amis is absolutely right. Or as Irvine Welsh puts it in Trainspotting:

Sick Boy: Well, at one time, you've got it, and then you lose it, and it's gone forever. All walks of life: George Best, for example. Had it, lost it. Or David Bowie, or Lou Reed."
Renton: Lou Reed, some of his solo stuff's not bad.
Sick Boy: No, it's not bad, but it's not great either. And in your heart you kind of know that although it sounds all right, it's actually just shite.


Incidentally, it's the eternal shame of the Booker judges that Trainspotting was never on the short list, or the long list for that matter.
posted by DanCall at 5:46 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that Ian McEwan is the literary equivalent of Coldplay. The rest are, to my mind, pretty much the real deal. Amis' Money is, to my mind, one of the best books written about the '80s. And, obviously this is entirely subjective, but Josipovici, dude, have you even read Midnight's Children?
posted by thivaia at 5:59 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find that when it comes to these literary awards, more and more it's about publishing and politics and less and less about actual merit and quality of the work.
posted by Fizz at 6:11 AM on July 29, 2010


Postmodern literature is dead. That isn't to say that no one will write postmodern literature, it's just that it has nothing new to say. What is interesting about this list, and the lists over the past 2-3 years, is how many novels on it express an honest, simple, earnest idea--perhaps even a childlike idea--even if they do so with the "playing with forms" mode of late modernism and postmodernism. I suspect the trend will be to retain the earnestness, the simple positive idea expressed honestly, and abandon the clever modes.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:24 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


but I've not faith in the Booker judges getting it right

I know that feeling... but I'm just still in a fugue of delight that Mantel won last year.

Many years ago I stumbled across her "Beyond Black" and became an insta-fan, went looking for more info on her and found almost nothing. Tucked up in the Guardian comments there somewhere, somebody argues that she was not exactly unknown or under-appreciated before her Booker win, but as far as I can tell, that was not exactly true for many, many years — because I was seeking out critical commentary or fandom, or anything on her work and coming up pretty much empty. When I found a used copy of "Fludd" in 50-cent bin, I fell in love all over again, and couldn't understand why nobody (seemingly) had heard of her, because she was definitely the shit. Eventually came "Wolf Hall" (which I adore; can't wait for the sequel!) and the Booker prize, which made me a happy Booker camper. For the moment.

I'll definitely read "February," based on oulipian's comment; does anyone else strongly endorse any of the other books on the longlist?
posted by taz at 6:28 AM on July 29, 2010


(oh, and I'm possibly the only mefite who was not a huge fan of "Cloud Atlas," so while I have a hunch that David Mitchell will most likely win, I haven't rushed to read "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet." So far. I'm pretty sure I will.)
posted by taz at 6:40 AM on July 29, 2010


I would be happy for Damon Galgut to win it.
posted by Mocata at 6:42 AM on July 29, 2010


The prize helped McEwan and Rushdie enormously and it is such a good prize because it did.

How so? Not snarking, genuinely curious. Presumably it made them very comfortable (not always conducive to creative output, by the way), but would they have stopped writing without the wins? Would the people who like their sort of writing not have found them eventually? If not, then perhaps they aren't that great after all.

Incidentally, the sponsors have a long and interesting history that is only tangentially connected to publishing:

"One of the most unusual diversifications made during this era was a division the company called "Authors." This highly unusual sideline developed after the discovery of a loophole in the British tax code that allowed the conglomerate to purchase an author's copyrights, pay him or her a fat fee partly at the expense of the taxpayer, and then collect the royalties. Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming were just two of the bestselling authors in Booker's stable.

According to Booker's 1994 annual report, Fleming suggested to Campbell over a game of golf that the company pump some of the millions it was earning on the backs of writers back into the literary community. Although Booker was reluctant to give the creator of the James Bond character full credit for the idea, his suggestion influenced the 1969 presentation of the first Booker McConnell Prize for Fiction (now the Booker Prize), bestowed upon the best novel published in Britain by a writer from the British Commonwealth. P.H. Newby's Something to Answer For won the first Booker Prize, which became the most coveted and highly esteemed award in British book publishing."
posted by IndigoJones at 6:57 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Tucked up in the Guardian comments there somewhere, somebody argues that she was not exactly unknown or under-appreciated before her Booker win, but as far as I can tell, that was not exactly true for many, many years"

She's been pretty known in UK literary circles for a while, maybe less so internationally. Keep meaning to get Beyond Black after hearing an excellent adaptation on BBC7. And the books prior to Cloud Atlas were better in my, um, book.

Incidentally, the sponsors have a long and interesting history that is only tangentially connected to publishing:

Ha, I remember a Livejournal post fulminating over the 'commercialization' of literature when the Whitbread became the Costa Book Prize. Ignoring, of course, that Whitbread were not a literary foundation but a chain of taverners.
posted by mippy at 7:00 AM on July 29, 2010


Would the people who like their sort of writing not have found them eventually? If not, then perhaps they aren't that great after all.

Outside of the lit world Rushdie is known for three things - marrying a very beautiful woman, winning a Booker prize (which makes headline news) and the fatwah. Any of these may lead someone who isn't normally an aficionado of post-colonial literature to pick up one of his books. It makes headlines, and it gets people interested - see also the Richard and Judy Book Club, which, like Oprah, picked up some fairly literary tomes and got them selling in Tesco (where a hell of a lot of UK book sales happen alongside the frozen peas and milk).
posted by mippy at 7:04 AM on July 29, 2010


Postmodern literature is dead.

Ah, you can tell a movement is still going strong when people go out of their way to proclaim its demise. Anyhow, I'm not sure how you can say so baldly this when David Mitchell (author of 'Cloud Atlas' and 'Ghostwritten') is on the Man Booker nominee list (though the reviews of the new book seem to indicate he's written a more straightforward novel this time). Also, this is me gesturing in the general direction of the very much alive and thriving Paul Auster, Don Delillo, Joanna Scott, Thomas Pynchon, Umberto Eco, etc., not to mention dozens and dozens of innovative post-whatever poets.
posted by aught at 7:10 AM on July 29, 2010


Since it got dinged above, I have to put in a good word for The Enchantress of Florence. Rushdie is more like A.S.Byatt and Umberto Eco than Amis and McEwan. He shares that love of history and scholarship and adds a touch of the fantastical and the pageantry of another time. Loved it.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:29 AM on July 29, 2010


taz: I'll definitely read "February," based on oulipian's comment; does anyone else strongly endorse any of the other books on the longlist?

I haven't read February yet, but Lisa Moore's previous novel, Alligator, is quite good. If I were to strongly endose anyone it would probably be Tom McCarthy - I haven't read C yet either, but if his previous books Remainder and Men In Space are any indication, it is probably brilliant.
posted by oulipian at 7:35 AM on July 29, 2010


That Guardian article has Peter Carey as the favorite to win. Parrot and Olivier in America left me with this odd feeling that Carey is getting repetitive even though his books vary so wildly in setting, tone & characters. Not sure what it is, but somehow the whole time I was reading I was feeling huge amounts of admiration for the book's sheer competence but zero engagement with it narratively or emotionally.
posted by yarrow at 7:47 AM on July 29, 2010


Anyhow, I'm not sure how you can say so baldly this when David Mitchell (author of 'Cloud Atlas' and 'Ghostwritten') is on the Man Booker nominee list (though the reviews of the new book seem to indicate he's written a more straightforward novel this time).

What's funny about your comment is that I was thinking specifically of Cloud Atlas when I wrote my comment. Cloud Atlas exemplifies the author expressing an "honest, simple, earnest idea--perhaps even a childlike idea--even if they do so with the "playing with forms" mode of late modernism and postmodernism."

I suppose this could very quickly degenerate into one of those debates about what postmoderism means, but I think we can agree that Mitchell's books and those of the people left off this list are qualitatively different in something other than form.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:10 AM on July 29, 2010


The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell is probably the most popular book on the list, it's the "popular favorite", last years Wolf Hall, a big old historical novel. I suspect it will win, but I've read it and recommend it.
posted by stbalbach at 8:15 AM on July 29, 2010


I'll definitely read "February," based on oulipian's comment; does anyone else strongly endorse any of the other books on the longlist?

Room was GREAT--dark, of course, but really well-done.
posted by leesh at 8:22 AM on July 29, 2010


Pastabagel: Are you saying that Ian MacEwan writes postmodern novels?


Anyway, reading the Josipovici piece, I don't have any problems with the guy's opinions or tastes (we all have them, just like assholes), but I guess I can't really tell what he wants. What does he think the English novel should do? Why? Seemed to be just contrarianism and bitching, really.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:27 AM on July 29, 2010


Thank god for Eleanor Wachtel, or I would not know who any of these people are. Writers & Co. FTW!

I started reading Time's Arrow the other day, but between the book jacket completely ruining the gimmick and the gimmick being one Alan Moore had used in 2000 AD a bazillion years ago, I just couldn't get into it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:38 AM on July 29, 2010


I think that Ian McEwan is the literary equivalent of Coldplay.

I never would have come up with this analogy, but you nailed McEwan for me. There's nothing wrong with his books, but I feel like they're far emptier than they seem.

As for this year's list: yet another reminder that I'm not the reader I once was (or maybe the reader I once thought I was). Maybe I'll actually pick up a few of these based on the recommendations here.
posted by that's candlepin at 8:53 AM on July 29, 2010


Funny little MeFi-related bonus: If you check out the link currently at the top of the Guardian Book's Twitter sidebar thing, you may be pleasantly surprised!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:08 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I suppose this could very quickly degenerate into one of those debates about what postmoderism means,

Yeah, this is usually what happens when the word is used.

Apologies if I was being knee-jerk. I come across so many people for whom post-modern basically means "clever enough that this lazy reader is threatened by it" or "I am a has-been writing teacher who needs to attack innovative works" (yes, I did my time in a Creative Writing graduate program some years ago) that I suppose I get twitchy when people dismiss it or proclaim its death (which of course has happened pretty much continuously since the label was invented).
posted by aught at 9:12 AM on July 29, 2010


I think that Ian McEwan is the literary equivalent of Coldplay.

Outstanding, although it's impossible to really make apt analogies across mediums like that, because I do think McEwan can really write, it's just that what he comes up with ends up being kind of meh, wheras I'm not totally sure that the guys in Coldplay can really play. But yeah, nice one!
posted by chaz at 9:14 AM on July 29, 2010


Josipovici is not someone I would normally accuse of "contrarianism and bitching." He doesn't really do hatchet jobs; his criticism -- like this article on Borges, which is included in his excellent essay collection The Singer on the Shore -- is generally subtle, sensitive, and perceptive. If he comes across as a blowhard in the Guardian article, it's because the author of that article is trying to make a controversy out of some comments that really aren't all that controversial.
posted by twirlip at 9:27 AM on July 29, 2010


I think that Ian McEwan is the literary equivalent of Coldplay.

Yeah, nthing this. I got about 30 pages into Atonement before I realized I was reading a very well-composed but mostly unoriginal riff on the Victorian novel. It felt a bit like finding a country shop where some guy could do absolutely flawless, brick-shithouse-solid reproductions of Mission furniture or something. Lovely and all, but is this really where I want to spend my time? I mean, I found Hardy and Bronte exhausting the first time around.

I feel the same about much of the celebrated Canadian fiction I've tried to tuck into. So very careful and tidy, you know? (Lisa Moore fans in this thread, a query: Does she break from this tradition at all? Her lit-journal pedigree and the calm, reverent tone of her reviews has always made me wary, but I'm always looking to be surprised.)
posted by gompa at 9:38 AM on July 29, 2010


It must be hard for largely irrelevant academics who live in the shadows of authors like Barnes, Amis, McEwan and Rushdie.

Josipovici is also a novelist, which may simply make you think you're even more right in that opinion, but he's got a following in that capacity himself (he's also got a book coming out that I really want).
posted by kenko at 10:02 AM on July 29, 2010


I discovered the Booker Prize about 20 years ago and have made it a point to read several of them: Midnight's Children, The English Patient*, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, The God of Small Things, and Disgrace are all fabulous.

*Loved the book, hated the movie
posted by neuron at 11:21 AM on July 29, 2010


Anyway, reading the Josipovici piece, I don't have any problems with the guy's opinions or tastes (we all have them, just like assholes), but I guess I can't really tell what he wants. What does he think the English novel should do? Why? Seemed to be just contrarianism and bitching, really.

I think he's just basically saying that those authors shouldn't get so many awards.

It's a little like going to a restaurant that's good but not great for many years and becoming a fan and then eventually it becomes more and more popular and you start to get 1- and 2-hour waits for tables, then you refuse to wait that long, and instead scream at customers: "People, it's just not THAT good!"

I likewise put McEwan not very high on my list. I like Amis a little better, and Rushie (usually) much better.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:44 AM on July 29, 2010


The Booker Prize is so cool because it will find the next Barnes and Amis, not the current ones. Contrast this to the Nobel Prize that awards relics whose best years are behind them.

Agreed, in theory, but the article also states that Peter Carey is being given 3-1 odds to win. He's already won twice and this would make him the first 3-time winner in history.
posted by mannequito at 12:13 PM on July 29, 2010


Okay, I'm going to stand up for Amis a little bit here, and McEwan rather more.

Amis doesn't really write novels. He writes connected scenarios intended to establish a prevailing attitude and posture - which sounds, and sometimes is, awful. The thing with Amis is people tend to either love him or hate him. I love him and hate him. I first ripped through his novels, up to and including 'London Fields' in the space of about three months, many years ago. Clearly, something kept me buying them.....but why did I always feel slightly soiled after finishing each one? Why did I - do I - think that 'Dead Babies' is one of the most horribly unpleasant and horribly funny books I've ever read? That slim volume is like a noseful of finest, grade-A marching powder cut with cheap, dirty crank and Harpic - which is probably what makes it so good. That, and the malicious, gleeful sadism of it, the brutal, sick black humour of it.

What does Amis do well? He writes well. Dammit, I'm sorry, he does. He has a turn of phrase like a casual backhanded slap; he can toss off polluted, dirty, arrogant prose like a fiend. When he can be bothered. He always, always creates at least one thoroughly unlikeable, nasty, rat-like vileness of a character and milks it for all it's worth. He is brilliant at portraying such characters.

What doesn't he do well? He doesn't write stories that well. He writes attitudes, set-pieces....and sort of strings them together, almost as an afterthought. So you read a chapter, a page, a paragraph and you have to be impressed by the energy, the style, the obvious intelligence and the sheer relish with which he depicts nastiness and bad behaviour, but a whole novel always seems somehow less than the sum of its parts. Maybe this is why you crave more, you buy the next one. He doesn't deserve the level of flak he attracts, but I do understand why he attracts it.

McEwan has certain things in common with Amis - the fondness for misanthropy, for black humour, for ironic detachment, for malicious puppetry with his hapless characters... but he's deeper than Amis. These two comments make me shake my head, because they are so perfectly typical of people who are simply missing the multi-layered subtlety of McEwan:

I think that Ian McEwan is the literary equivalent of Coldplay.

I got about 30 pages into Atonement before I realized I was reading a very well-composed but mostly unoriginal riff on the Victorian novel.


No offence, but this is not getting McEwan on a massive scale. And if you only read thirty pages of "Atonement" I would respectfully suggest that you have no business making lofty proclamations about what it is, and what McEwan was going for with it. McEwan is a very sharp guy who plays with form, and he does so with plenty of knowing and subtle mischief. "Atonement" is quite superb, and in a very modern, non-Victorian way. McEwan can also be incredibly moving and perceptive. Read "The Child In Time" if you doubt that.

I admit that "Solar" was okay at best, although I had fun reading it. "Saturday" was pretty poor. But "The Child In Time", "Amsterdam", "Atonement", "Enduring Love", "Black Dogs", "First Love, Last Rites" are all superb.
posted by Decani at 2:22 PM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, and by the way, it's "Petit-bourgeois", not "Petty-bourgeois". Jesus.
posted by Decani at 3:23 PM on July 29, 2010


Petty bourgeois is totally cromulent.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:28 PM on July 29, 2010


Oh you wag, Alvy.
posted by Decani at 3:35 PM on July 29, 2010


I got about 30 pages into Atonement before I realized I was reading a very well-composed but mostly unoriginal riff on the Victorian novel.

I like Atonement and can accept that it's not a lot of peoples' cup of tea. But I would discourage anyone from making broad judgments about Atonement before finishing it. Your assessment of it is very off. I can see why you made it, because you're missing a lot of the turns that the novel makes.

I'd call it an examination on the way individuals view their world through a narrative lens and the immense harm that doing so can cause.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:19 PM on July 29, 2010


I got about 30 pages into Atonement before I realized I was reading a very well-composed but mostly unoriginal riff on the Victorian novel.

Nthing the reactions to this statement as being a bit silly. I found Atonement a bit dull at the beginning, but the ending of the book was like a kick in the stomach (in a good way). It also helps if you realize that one of the things going on in the book is a journey through the history of the English novel from early 19th C to Victorian to Modernism to (post?)modernism.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:44 PM on July 29, 2010


What does Amis do well?

Essays.

My problem with Amis as with a whole bunch of others is that he, they, got bitten by the Nabokov bug early on and never got over it.

Then again, after a point, Nabokov didn't get over it.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:41 AM on July 30, 2010


Josipovici has responded to the way he was portrayed in the Guardian article:
The journalist took a few sentences from one chapter of a fifteen-chapter book, an expansion of an essay that originally appeared in the TLS, robbed those words of their nuance and context, and, on the basis of three telephone conversations in which I tried in vain to explain to her that I was not interested in personalities but in certain large and general literary and cultural issues, passed the whole thing off as an interview. In the wake of the Guardian piece I was rung up by the Evening Standard and Radio 4’s PM, and emailed by Newsnight, all wanting me to elaborate on what I had allegedly said in the Guardian. When I told all three that I would do so only on condition that I did not talk about personalities but set the record straight about the content of my book, I was told that in that case they were not interested. Ironically, one of the points the book was making was that the English were so obsessed with turning every issue into one of personality that serious debate of cultural questions was now almost impossible.
posted by twirlip at 11:05 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


« Older Maybe the entire universe as we know it really is ...  |  RIP Trinity Square, Gateshead ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments