In 1929, John Galsworthy won a Guardian poll as the novelist most likely to still be read in 2029. Three years later, he won the Nobel Prize, and the prices of his first editions skyrocketed. His reputation has since been on a 80-year wane that shows no signs of abating. The New Yorker asks Why is Literary Fame So Unpredictable?
And who will they be teaching in literature class a century from now?
posted by Horace Rumpole
on May 22, 2012 -
Literary Style: 15 Writers' Bedrooms: Truman Capote
, Virginia Woolf
, Ernest Hemingway
, Flannery O'Connor
, Alexander Masters
, William S. Burroughs
, Slyvia Plath
, Henry David Thoreau
, Victor Hugo
, Emily Dickinson
, Miranda Seymour
, Mary Roach
, Marcel Proust
, Michael Morpurgo
, William Faulkner
posted by Fizz
on Apr 4, 2012 -
If “The Marriage Plot,” by Jeffrey Eugenides, had been written by a woman yet still had the same title and wedding ring on its cover, would it have received a great deal of serious literary attention? Or would this novel (which I loved) have been relegated to “Women’s Fiction,” that close-quartered lower shelf where books emphasizing relationships and the interior lives of women are often relegated? Certainly “The Marriage Plot,” Eugenides’s first novel since his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Middlesex,” was poised to receive tremendous literary interest regardless of subject matter, but the presence of a female protagonist, the gracefulness, the sometimes nostalgic tone and the relationship-heavy nature of the book only highlight the fact that many first-rate books by women and about women’s lives never find a way to escape “Women’s Fiction” and make the leap onto the upper shelf where certain books, most of them written by men (and, yes, some women — more about them later), are prominently displayed and admired.
So begins The Second Shelf: On the Rules of Literary Fiction for Men and Women
, an essay in the New York Times by novelist Meg Wolitzer. She was interviewed about her essay in the NYT Book Review podcast
(mp3 link, interview starts at about 18:30). Wolitzer references the classic 1998 essay by Francine Prose, Scent of a woman's ink: Are women writers really inferior?
, and further back in time you find Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own
, which, as literary critic Ruth Franklin notes
, still sounds fresh today.
posted by Kattullus
on Apr 4, 2012 -
They think of me as a scholar, an intellectual, a pen-pusher. And I am none of them. When I write, my fingers get covered not in ink but in blood. I think I am nothing more than this: an undaunted soul. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Nov 24, 2010 -
Henry Miller had always loved art. He first began painting after seeing some Turner prints in a Brooklyn department-store window. There was only one minor drawback: he couldn’t draw. But his best friend, Emil Schnellock, could, and Miller became his disciple. It wasn’t long before he realized that what he lacked in draftsmanship, he made up for in color and composition sense. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese
on Dec 8, 2009 -
Dalkey Archive conversations with William Burroughs
, Angela Carter
, Robert Creeley
, William Gaddis
, William H. Gass
, Danilo Kis
, Harry Mathews
, Richard Powers
, Raymond Queneau
, Hubert Selby
, William T. Vollman
, David Foster Wallace
, and many other writers.
posted by Iridic
on Oct 12, 2008 -
announced by LitKicks
marries sudden fiction (and poetry, and nonfiction) workshop dynamics to a survivor-like competitive format, starting October 1, with six winners to be published in a book featuring the best work from the Quest. It's open to all, costs $20
to enter, and requires a free membership in the LitKicks site, which is a thriving online literary community as it is. More info in the FAQ
. I think this may work better for me than NaNoWriMo would.
posted by xian
on Sep 16, 2003 -
After 'The Bell Jar,' Life Went On.
Sylvia Plath immortalized the guest editor program at Mademoiselle Magazine in her famed book, "The Bell Jar." A photo of the 20 young guest editors was taken back in 1953, and they were all lined up in a star -- with Plath, unsurprisingly, at the top. Plath killed herself in 1971, but the other women in her program reunited recently, to discuss their experiences, how they've changed, and their famous classmate. A fascinating read for anyone who's read "The Bell Jar." (NY Times reg required)
posted by GaelFC
on Jun 23, 2003 -
Is It Fiction If It Says "Fiction" On The Cover? Jorge Luis Borges
brilliantly obscured fact and fiction presenting fiction as fact. Things seem to have swung round 180º and fact is now increasingly being sold as fiction. This certainly seems to be the case with Siri Hustvedt's What I Loved
. She's Paul Auster's
and... Well... now even critics
, like The New York Observer's Joe Hagan
have joined the fun, as Slate's Katie Roiphe duly noted
. Fact is now presented as fiction, without the traditional disguise of the roman à clef
. I think it's sad. In fact, it's an attempt on the life of imagination itself. Perhaps these authors who write memoirs masquerading as novels could be sued under the Trade Description Act? [With thanks to the always excellent Literary Salon weblog. Thanks to ColdChef for pointing it out to me.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Apr 23, 2003 -
An Exercise in Identity
A group of writers seeks to collaborate under a single pseudonym, not for fear of scorn or ridicule, but presumably because they think it makes for better business. Do readers have a right to know who a work's author really is, or can identity just be another aspect of the fictional work? (via Kuro5hin queue)
posted by Erasmus
on Dec 19, 2002 -
'Literature of fact'
The high wall which seperates fact and fiction has a small door in it through which people can step. A piece which discusses how someone writing a supposed eyewitness account of an event always tends to fictionalise, even unconciously, in order to make the subject interesting, the idea being that just because a book is in that section, it might not actually be completely non-fiction.
posted by feelinglistless
on Nov 16, 2002 -
may be one of the best novelists working today, yet not that many folks know his name. His books
and short stories
portray prosaic suburbia accurately and without condescension, and he has uncanny insight into the mind of the terminally adolescent. Not to mention an uproarious sense of humor. If the films of Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater, the music of Weezer, or Pete Bagge's
comics resonate with you, you may want to check out their literary equivalent. As an added treat, here's an audio
link of Perrota reading his work. For my money, this guy is one of our best American writers right now, although you wouldn't know it.
posted by jonmc
on Mar 2, 2002 -
Finally the Nobel Prize For Literature Gets It Right
Jorge Luis Borges didn't get it. Neither did Marcel Proust. But today V.S.Naipaul, arguably the best writer in the English language since Samuel Beckett died, was awarded the Nobel Prize.
Doesn't this just show it helps not to be English(e.g. Irish, American, Indian or Trinidadian)to be able to write dry and timeless prose such as Sir Vidia's?
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Oct 11, 2001 -