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October 09, 2014


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Evelyn Roak

If I remember the comment you reference correctly my biggest issue is not that historically men have had an easier time of it in getting books of the sort published (they have), but, in contrast to what said commenter wrote, unless you've been grandfathered into being allowed to publish these sort of novels no man or woman is getting these things out there via major publishing house anymore. And if one looks to the publishers who do publish these types of books (Dalkey Archive, et al) there has been tremendous progress in equality and diversity of authors. Is it perfect? Of course not. But looking at today's landscape with a 1970's idea of publishing will never work. Woman are writing and getting these works published and noted, unfortunately it has all been marginalized from the mainstream (and when writers like Jaimy Gordon are winning the National Book Award that is at least testament to something).


The cliche "you learn something new everyday" just came true for me. I had no idea "Miss Mackintosh, My Darling" was a real novel; I thought it was just something Anne Tyler had made up.

Jeffrey Higgins

This is such a great piece. For me, a reader of these enjoyable & 'difficult' books who's just finished a Master's degree in English (at ISU, where the presence of DFW is still strongly felt), & whose peers are largely researching contemporary mainstream popular culture, this parenthetical resonated in particular: "But by the not-quite-same token, it might be argued, as someone who hasn't, and likely will not, read The Hunger Games trilogy, I myself am not going to be in any position to assess the sharpness of Suzanne Collins's allegorical observations on the society of the spectacle. So it's possible I'm missing something too. But you can't read everything." This is just it; if I'm not reading Harry Potter or the Hunger Games or whatever it's not because I don't find them meaningful or relevant, it's just that my attention is elsewhere, closer to my own odd interests.

It's also really great to see Peter Weiss' The Aesthetics of Resistance here. It worries me that the following two translated volumes may not be published as planned due to poor sales (or so a rumor I heard goes, but who knows). The more awareness that's raised on this work, the better.

This comment may seem a little self-serving but whatever, I'm a long-time reader of this blog & the linked essay is evidence of why I keep reading, which is why I'm commenting here & not on Gawker, which is why I'm commenting at all, as I usually read silently.

Glenn Kenny

No worries, Jeffrey, and thanks for your thoughts and your readership.

Michael Adams

I have toiled in the vineyards of higher education most of my adult life and have increasingly seen works of art by white heterosexual males judged not as equal to comparable works by women and minorities. Don't get me wrong. I love women writers from the Brontes to Flannery O'Connor to Ruth Rendell to Hilary Mantel and have a chapter in my dissertation about Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle, but political correctness seems to have clouded the issue of arguing about the worth of fiction. In the Age of Oprah, in which too much fiction, both literary and genre, by both men and women, is more sociology than art, I long for a time when fiction, and other arts as well, can be judged purely on aesthetic grounds regardless of who the creator is.


Look, I'm not reading Finnegans Wake. I am fully aware that recent research has proved that Joyce was female. But I don't care. I'm still not reading Finnegans Wake.

You can call me Dan Kois. You can call me Dan Kois until you're blue in the face. You can call me Dan Kois until I break down crying. But I'm just not reading Finnegans Wake.

(Also, if you actually generated a constructive and civil Gawker comments thread, have you considered the SERIOUS possibility that you are the second coming of Jesus Christ? If this proves to be true, you've got a LOT of work to do. May I suggest you begin by coming over to my home with your carpenter skills and building me some excellent wooden bookshelves worthy of heaven?)


It's funny how reading Proust has become shorthand for effete, ivory-tower intellectualism, particularly in movies. I wonder: is it the name? Does he have exactly enough cultural currency that people have heard of him, but not necessarily read him?

I'm still put off by much of what's commonly deemed "postmodern," although DFW remains an exception (it's partially a generational thing, I'm sure.) The way I see it, I ought to better steep myself in the Modern before I move on to the "post." That, and much of what I hear about the work of Coover, Barth, etc. just puts me off. Glenn, reading your thoughts on some of these blokes has warmed me up a bit to the possibility. Although it's disappointing to hear how bleak Gravity's Rainbow sounds.

Actually, the one (if it can rightly be counted among them) I'm most seriously considering is Gass's THE TUNNEL. Any thoughts? Sounds tough and dark, but maybe a good challenge. A little dipping into Gass's essays piqued my curiosity; he's a terrific writer. Maybe I'll use Omensetter's Luck as a warm up.

But, fuck - I still haven't read ULYSSES. Until I do, how can I hope to have my serious reader ticket punched?

James Keepnews

+ 2 bajillions for the incomparable Dhalgren, which puts the significant sui in the generis -- I have to imagine Pynchon was aware of it while writing GR. The real "cultural vegetables" are those who refuse to to embrace the challenges and, no question, the undeniable fun of Serious Lit, only to defend ad nauseum their cotton candy diet. I may not be in a hurry to read Finnegan's Wake, but I could listen to Joyce recite from it forever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtOQi7xspRc


"I may not be in a hurry to read Finnegan's Wake, but I could listen to Joyce recite from it forever"

I ain't got no quarrel with that.


On a mildly related high-low note, Tom Carson has a piece on Pulp Fiction today in which he argues, among other things, that "the most important difference" between Tarantino and Godard is that the former's references to other movies are "damn near irrelevant to [his work's] vitality, while Godard's "most groundbreaking movies may well not outlive the shelf life of the 20th-century cultural debris he was quoting from." http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/movies-of-1994-pulp-fiction-quentin-tarantino/


Few books I've lugged around on the subway have attracted the attention, not always positive, of Dhalgren. Cool thoughts here and in Gawker.

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