gall and gumption

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Irresponsibility

Oh man, this is a theme I could warm to. I'm glad to see someone on the case. One author he does not mention, though as soon as he mentions Rabelais and Cervantes I feel sure he's thought about it, is Sterne. If you want to understand the full implications of what this guy is saying you could do worse than read The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy. It has, to the highest degree, the quality of "plasticity."

It takes the most responsible of writers to see why irresponsibility is so important. As for "plastic", the word is not for nothing borrowed from the visual and three-dimensional arts, reminding us that immediacy in a novel is no less tactile, and can only be moulded out of the vitality of language. Between them, irresponsibility and plasticity point the way to pleasures we have lost.


Well, I don't quite see that we've lost these pleasures. I read Tristram Shandy once a year, I can always find a copy. All of Dickens is there if you want to find it, and Faulkner, and Gogol. I think W.G. Sebald, though he's hardly a comic writer, had that quality. I'd say Jamaica Kincaid has it, Naipaul has it sometimes. He used to have it more, before he became so afflicted with bile. If he means that there are few contemporary writers who know how to do it and that the trends that he describes here militate against a writer doing it, I'd tend to agree.

But what's a writer to do. I get a mixture of inspiration and depression when I go to those media conferences or workshops where literary agents and editors get up and tell writers how to get articles published. On the one hand it becomes clear to me that the practicalities of sending out a manuscript or a book proposal are much simpler than I tend to imagine. I mean, they keep saying they will read the stuff, don't they. But then when they start talking about what they want to see in a book I get depressed.

"We want great writing," they say. They set out a list of items that make up great writing: strong plots, vivid characters, showing, not telling, not too much exposition, no long descriptions of scenery. In my head another list is running and I am drawing a red line through names: Faulkner, Gogol, Trollope, Richardson, Lawrence, Hardy, Sterne, Cervantes, Dickens, Eliot, Dostoevsky, Lampedusa, Levi, Proust...

I go to bookstores and look at the new "literary" fiction, the stuff with the stylish covers, and I look between the covers and I rarely ever see anything that makes me want to buy. It's not even the money, it's the thought of the commitment to reading it all the way to the end, of being stuck with the prose. It turns out that there are whole categories of great writing that would never make it past my editor's desk.

No chick lit, needless to say. No autobiographically-based novels of life in the sixties when Mom and Dad used to pile everyone into the station wagon and drive across the country and little Reptilia, your narrator, always got carsick. I would do away with parents altogether, especially those dimwit but kindly Midwestern parents who visit their sophisticated daughters in New York and reveal at the most inopportune times how infuriatingly nice they are. To hell with all of them, I say. No talking dead children. No Southern belles or whatever they call themselves these days. No women who make more than $100,000 a year and live in apartments in New York that are the size of a small airstrip.

No banjo players, no black harmonica players full of earthy soulfulness. No old black ladies full of wisdom, let us lay that specter to rest, for de love of Gawd. No earth mothers, no saintly mothers, no psycho mothers. No evil insensitive fathers blighting the lives of their marvellously talented children.

No paintings, no novels telling the story of paintings.

In the realm of nonfiction no one would ever be allowed to remodel anything again: the Tuscan and Provencal villas with their marble countertops and their colorful local builders, won't touch it.

I have more to add to this but I've got to get doing some stuff so I'll try to get at it later... I hope.

16 Comments:

At 5:17 AM, Blogger chkg20hywy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet, true religion, coach outlet, gucci handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, christian louboutin outlet, michael kors outlet, prada handbags, nike outlet, polo ralph lauren, ray ban outlet, nike free, michael kors outlet store, louis vuitton handbags, louis vuitton, cheap oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, chanel handbags, tiffany and co jewelry, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, oakley vault, prada outlet, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike air max, coach outlet store online, oakley sunglasses, burberry outlet online, nike air max, michael kors handbags, longchamp outlet online, kate spade outlet online, burberry outlet online, longchamp handbags, kate spade outlet, jordan shoes, red bottom shoes, longchamp outlet, tory burch outlet online, coach outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, coach purses, tiffany jewelry

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

louis vuitton pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, vans pas cher, lululemon, lacoste pas cher, nike air max, air max, abercrombie and fitch, timberland, nike free pas cher, sac michael kors, louis vuitton uk, north face, new balance pas cher, barbour, north face pas cher, tn pas cher, nike roshe run, burberry pas cher, hollister, ray ban pas cher, nike air force, true religion outlet, ralph lauren, mulberry, nike air max, oakley pas cher, nike free, longchamp, chaussure louboutin, nike roshe, michael kors canada, air max pas cher, true religion jeans, sac louis vuitton, longchamp pas cher, hollister, michael kors uk, converse pas cher, air jordan, louis vuitton, scarpe hogan, ray ban uk, nike blazer pas cher, guess pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, hermes pas cher

 
At 9:40 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

mont blanc pens, canada goose, uggs outlet, p90x workout, reebok shoes, chi flat iron, babyliss, soccer jerseys, valentino shoes, instyler ionic styler, insanity workout, bottega veneta, north face jackets, ugg soldes, canada goose outlet, beats headphones, hollister, uggs outlet, soccer shoes, new balance outlet, asics shoes, abercrombie and fitch, mcm handbags, wedding dresses, ugg boots, canada goose outlet, lululemon outlet, ugg outlet, celine handbags, birkin bag, replica watches, nike roshe, nfl jerseys, north face jackets, vans outlet, nike trainers, ugg, ghd, ferragamo shoes, canada goose outlet, mac cosmetics, ugg boots, longchamp, giuseppe zanotti, herve leger, nike huarache, uggs on sale, jimmy choo shoes, marc jacobs outlet

 
At 9:43 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

links of london uk, swarovski jewelry, moncler, pandora uk, canada goose, supra shoes, ray ban, timberland shoes, hollister, juicy couture outlet, moncler outlet, thomas sabo uk, coach outlet, vans, gucci, hollister canada, parajumpers outlet, oakley, canada goose, moncler, swarovski uk, montre femme, louis vuitton canada, moncler, wedding dress, uggs canada, converse shoes, air max, lancel, toms outlet, juicy couture outlet, hollister clothing, moncler, baseball bats, pandora charms, louboutin, ralph lauren, replica watches, converse, ugg, moncler outlet, canada goose, karen millen, iphone 6 case, moncler, nike air max, pandora jewelry, canada goose pas cher

 
At 11:19 PM, Blogger Junda Xu said...

20151020 junda
Coach Factory Handbags Outlet Store
nfl jerseys
coach canada
Michael Kors Outlet Deals Online
Abercrombie and Fitch Outlet Sale
louis vuitton outlet
Michael Kors Outlet Real Handbags Online
Jordan 6 Rings Powder Blue
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton handbags
cheap uggs
cheap toms shoes
coach factory outlet
Louis Vuitton Outlet USA
ralph lauren uk
ugg boots
Discount Ray Ban Polarized Sunglasses
Ugg Boots,Ugg Boots Outlet,Ugg Outlet,Cheap Uggs,Uggs On Sale,Ugg Boots Clearance,Uggs For Women
ugg boots
air max 95,nike golf,nike janoski,air max 1,nike canada,nike plus,nike shox,nike factory store
coach outlet
ugg boots clearance
coach outlet online
Michael Kors Outlet Handbags Factory Price
Louis Vuitton Handbags Factory Store
Michael Kors Outlet Sale Clearance
coach factory outlet
ugg boots australia
canada goose jackets
louis vuitton outlet

 
At 12:31 AM, Blogger oakleyses said...

prada outlet, ray ban sunglasses, tiffany jewelry, louis vuitton, ugg boots, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, replica watches, louboutin outlet, nike air max, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, nike air max, uggs on sale, ugg boots, michael kors, jordan shoes, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, nike outlet, tiffany and co, michael kors outlet, replica watches, longchamp, oakley sunglasses, gucci outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, louboutin, longchamp outlet, oakley sunglasses, tory burch outlet, ugg boots, christian louboutin outlet, louboutin shoes, ugg boots, kate spade outlet, louis vuitton outlet, burberry, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, prada handbags, louis vuitton outlet, nike free, louis vuitton, polo ralph lauren outlet

 
At 12:33 AM, Blogger oakleyses said...

true religion jeans, sac longchamp, michael kors, coach outlet, longchamp pas cher, hollister, vanessa bruno, air jordan pas cher, new balance pas cher, nike free, air max, lululemon, louboutin pas cher, michael kors, mulberry, nike air max, kate spade handbags, nike free run uk, abercrombie and fitch, true religion outlet, north face, coach purses, true religion jeans, ralph lauren uk, burberry, sac guess, ralph lauren pas cher, true religion jeans, hollister pas cher, tn pas cher, hermes, nike blazer, nike air max, hogan, michael kors, north face, nike roshe, ray ban uk, coach factory outlet, lacoste pas cher, air force, michael kors, nike roshe run, converse pas cher, nike air max, oakley pas cher, timberland, coach outlet, vans pas cher, ray ban pas cher

 
At 12:35 AM, Blogger oakleyses said...

celine handbags, lululemon, soccer jerseys, longchamp, asics running shoes, p90x workout, iphone 5s cases, chi flat iron, herve leger, ipad cases, mcm handbags, hollister, nike trainers, hollister, vans shoes, instyler, timberland boots, ferragamo shoes, babyliss, wedding dresses, iphone 6 plus cases, north face outlet, s5 cases, nike huarache, nfl jerseys, north face outlet, birkin bag, iphone 6 cases, valentino shoes, mac cosmetics, iphone 6s plus cases, insanity workout, bottega veneta, nike air max, new balance, giuseppe zanotti, jimmy choo shoes, ghd, louboutin, baseball bats, nike roshe, beats by dre, iphone cases, soccer shoes, oakley, reebok shoes, iphone 6s cases, mont blanc

 
At 12:36 AM, Blogger oakleyses said...

moncler, replica watches, canada goose uk, louis vuitton, gucci, sac louis vuitton pas cher, ray ban, louis vuitton, moncler, pandora jewelry, montre pas cher, ugg boots uk, canada goose, doke gabbana outlet, pandora charms, swarovski crystal, canada goose outlet, pandora charms, canada goose outlet, supra shoes, doudoune canada goose, canada goose, nike air max, ugg pas cher, vans, canada goose, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, swarovski, lancel, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, hollister, canada goose, links of london, moncler, moncler, barbour jackets, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, moncler, marc jacobs, moncler outlet, toms shoes, barbour, karen millen, converse, wedding dresses, hollister, juicy couture outlet, converse outlet, thomas sabo, bottes ugg

 
At 8:16 PM, Blogger mmjiaxin said...

cheap soccer jerseys
puma outlet
christian louboutin outlet
oakley sunglasses
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton handbags
rolex watches
toms outlet store
links of london jewellery
nike roshe
ugg boots
ugg boots
ralph lauren polo
ralph lauren polo
instyler ionic styler
michael kors outlet
ralph lauren outlet
thomas sabo outlet
ferragamo outlet
mm0112

 
At 10:06 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, kate spade outlet, oakley sunglasses, burberry outlet, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, replica watches, prada outlet, ray ban sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, gucci handbags, replica watches, michael kors outlet, christian louboutin outlet, burberry handbags, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin shoes, christian louboutin uk, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, nike free, chanel handbags, louis vuitton, ugg boots, longchamp outlet, uggs outlet, jordan shoes, uggs on sale, tory burch outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike air max, polo outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet online, tiffany jewelry, longchamp outlet, oakley sunglasses wholesale, tiffany and co, nike outlet, uggs outlet, ugg boots, prada handbags, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet online

 
At 10:08 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

north face, sac vanessa bruno, true religion jeans, michael kors, vans pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, nike roshe, kate spade, mulberry uk, air max, hollister pas cher, nike air force, oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet, longchamp pas cher, nike air max uk, ray ban pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, nike roshe run uk, polo ralph lauren, nike tn, ralph lauren uk, nike free run, lululemon canada, guess pas cher, coach outlet, converse pas cher, hogan outlet, north face uk, hollister uk, true religion outlet, nike free uk, michael kors pas cher, timberland pas cher, coach purses, replica handbags, coach outlet store online, sac longchamp pas cher, louboutin pas cher, nike air max uk, sac hermes, burberry pas cher, michael kors, ray ban uk, new balance, polo lacoste, true religion outlet, jordan pas cher, nike air max

 
At 10:11 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

giuseppe zanotti outlet, nike air max, north face outlet, timberland boots, valentino shoes, north face outlet, babyliss, iphone 6 cases, iphone 5s cases, mac cosmetics, reebok outlet, ferragamo shoes, celine handbags, abercrombie and fitch, louboutin, nike huaraches, lululemon, soccer shoes, hollister clothing, new balance shoes, iphone 6s cases, mcm handbags, jimmy choo outlet, iphone 6s plus cases, s6 case, hermes belt, longchamp uk, ipad cases, wedding dresses, mont blanc pens, hollister, nfl jerseys, bottega veneta, iphone 6 plus cases, ghd hair, herve leger, ralph lauren, chi flat iron, instyler, p90x workout, oakley, soccer jerseys, beats by dre, nike roshe run, vans outlet, iphone cases, nike trainers uk, baseball bats, insanity workout, asics running shoes

 
At 10:14 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

canada goose uk, supra shoes, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, canada goose, thomas sabo, toms shoes, barbour uk, barbour, hollister, pandora jewelry, wedding dresses, canada goose, moncler outlet, canada goose outlet, moncler, canada goose jackets, juicy couture outlet, coach outlet, marc jacobs, moncler outlet, links of london, louis vuitton, replica watches, louis vuitton, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, karen millen uk, ugg, montre pas cher, pandora uk, canada goose outlet, ugg pas cher, doke gabbana, ray ban, converse outlet, converse, lancel, swarovski crystal, moncler, vans, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, pandora charms, juicy couture outlet, ugg uk, louis vuitton, doudoune moncler, swarovski, hollister, gucci, canada goose outlet, nike air max, moncler

 
At 9:02 PM, Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

chicago bulls jersey
skechers outlet
fitflops
ugg boots
nike air huarache
cheap michael kors handbags
coach outlet
cheap nike shoes
ray ban sunglasses
jordan shoes

 

Post a Comment

<< Home