June 5, 2002

Bookishness.  It can be cool.  Really.

Hmmm. My biorhythms must be dialed to “artsy” today — or at least, “high brow.” Don’t worry, that’ll change. In the meantime, though, more literary references — this time courtesy Sexy northlander, James Lileks (and his latest “Bleat”):

Joyce Maynard has achieved an addition level of self-trust, and we can only pray it results in another memoir. Trusting Myself: a Journey of Self Trusting, or, How the Sight of Ten Million Tons of Concrete Crashing to the Ground Was SOOO Like My Divorce, Minus All the Dust.

The self-absorption of these people is one of the reasons her generation will be regarded as the most weightless inhabitants of the 20th century — born into a plenty, cosseted and flattered since the cradle, they spent their lives believing their adolescent fascinations were epiphanies that would light the way for eons to come. It

Posted by Jeff G. @ 4:36pm

Comments (5)

  1. Just because I’m feeling contentious—I can’t agree with the placement of <i>ACITR </i> over <i>Huck Finn</i>. Twain nearly single-handedly forged the way for a sincere and powerful “American” voice in fiction. The literary world still looked to the Victorian stylistic forms (romanticism and idealism—Henry James) of literature as the only worthwhile ones. Twain, largely because of <i>Finn</i>, tackled major cultural and intellectual issues through a voice that carved out a new space (a sort of naturalism) in the literary world.

  2. OMGWTF!!!!

    I’m sorry.  With this, this, this (well, you’re the perfessor, you fill in the word), I must disagree.  No, I can’t elucidate it like Ian, but I just must, wholeheartedly, without reservation and with extreme condemnation- but respectfully, mind you – disagree. 

    I can put it this way – I read that Salinger book once in my life.  I re-read Huck Finn at least once every couple of years.  And I give my copy, whatever that may be, away to younguns when I think it is necessary.

  3. Hey, Sam’s stuff is boss.  And historically important.  But I’m interested in sustained narrative voice.  Huck’s is wonderful.  Holden’s is more wonderful. 

    I hand out copies of <i>Catcher</i> to a lot of my students who’ve never read it, Scott.  Not in a Mark David Chapman way, mind you.  Another good one is <i>The Heart is a Lonely Hunter</i>.

  4. Durn professors…always pulling out stuff like “sustained narrative voice.”

    Does Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” count in that sub-genre?  Or is that genre?  Or is my hick showing?

    That Chapman line earned a guffaw!  Nice one…

  5. Conrad’s out because he ain’t ‘Merkin.  Nick Carroway in <i>Gatsby’s</i> another one—be he’s the kind that’s much more interesting upon analysis than when you’re actually reading the book.  After all, he’s ostensibly telliing the story of Jay and Daisy—which is what we’re mostly paying attention to anyway—but a closer look reveals a whole other (and to my mind more interesting) level to the book, specifically Nick’s own story (which, as they say, is all in the telling).