Writers who broke all the rules

by Rachel Baker on February 14, 2014

Here’s a really great read by Wendy Lesser on Salon about writers who found joy out of the destruction of literature by breaking every rule in the proverbial book. The article is an excerpt from her “Why I read: The Serious Pleasure of Books” which was published last month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.

I think maybe I’ll be getting this book – if I do, I will review it.

There is a certain kind of writer who seems to feel that unless he is breaking apart everything that came before him, composing something that in his own view is astonishingly new, he is not writing great literature. Though he is sincere in his wish to be a great writer (and in that sense might seem almost naive), his preferred mode of public address is sarcasm or heavy irony, both of which are meant to suggest his sophistication, his superiority to banal questions about reality, authenticity, and truth. He has no interest in accurately representing human behavior, partly because he has no interest in accuracy and partly because he has very little interest in other people; what concerns him most is the working of his own mind. He hates with a passion the realist novelists and formalist poets who came just before him, and he is convinced that only he, among all the writers who ever lived, is producing work that will matter to the future. In this respect, he evidently imagines a future filled with people who are nothing like him—people who will be content to rest with the innovations he has produced and will not feel obliged to stomp on their forebears.

See the rest of this article:

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