Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Not too long ago I was struck by something Paul Auster said in an interview (can't remember if it was in The Paris Review of The Believer) -- he asked, rhetorically, does anyone read Andre Gide anymore? I don't remember it that well, but it seems like there was more than just a hint of sadness for Auster about the thought that Gide and other worthy giants had fallen away/weren't being read/weren't being thought of. This wasn't, I don't think, about bringing back the DEAD WHITE MALES (or the DEAD FATHER), it was just a call for some awareness about the implications of scarfing down nothing but the contemporary. I reviewed Benjamin Ivry's excellent translation of Gide's Judge Not, a fascinating collection of his writings on criminal cases and weird judicial proceedings, for Rain Taxi and got a letter from Ivry afterward thanking me for having done it, and noting that it was the only review the book had gotten*. A terrific book by Gide comes out and it gets one review! Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this, except to remind myself, for the umpteenth time, to stay vigilant -- it's not just the underserved marvels orbiting way out in our synchronic solar systems that need attending to, there are also the ones getting buried by time (and for every Gide, of course, there are dozens of less famous, perhaps even more exciting/useful/relevant writers waiting to be dug out. Shovel anyone?)

*Full credit should be given to Eric Lorberer, Rain Taxi's editor, for steering the book my way.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Tim Atkins said...

Forgotten writers:

How about British novelist B.S.Johnson? Currently revived in the UK after years of invisibility. 'The Unfortunates' (loose chapters in a box) is one of the great British novels.
However ridiculous the words 'great' & 'british' are.

Gide's Journals.

Knut Hamsun enjoyed a spell of fame in the 50's & 60's. How widely is he read? 'Mysteries' is my favourite.

Poet bpnichol is world famous in Canada: unread anywhere else. His 'Selected Organs' (a biography of his organs) is a fine read. As is most everything else.

There is a very interesting discussion of 'neglecterinos' - Larry Fagin's phrase - on Ron Silliman's blog from Feb or March this year, too.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Paul Jessup said...

I love Gide. I read his Pastoral Symphony in the original French. Brilliant work.

Forgotten greats? Well it seems the NPR feels like Flann O'Brian is a forgotten great, which confuses the hell out of me.

It seems that a lot of people are forgetting John Fowles, who is just amazing.

6:10 AM  
Blogger Laird Hunt said...

Great and British work pretty well for me when I think of your work, Mr. Atkins. But so does just great.

Hamsun is definitely an instance of collective forgetting (of course the fascism didn't help, but then Pound still gets read and read vigorously). You turned me onto his work and Mysteries is one of the great books for me too and Hunger was a huge help in writing The Impossibly (I realized, reading it, that someone had been wilder and madder long before me).

And Johnson -- absolutely. I quote a bit from the pretty terrific newish Coe biography on him below, which I'm hoping will steer readers back to him.

One great writer who has been brought back into the light a bit in the US (by the unflagging efforts of mighty Dalkey Archive) is Ann Quin, a writer I've "taught" at the University of Denver. Jean Toomer, too. A great modernist who wrote a strange and fierce and difficult book (Cane), among other works.

O'Brien has had that weird business of appearing (in the form of The Third Policeman (maybe my favorite novel of all time -- well, right up there anyway)) on the TV program Lost, which made it seem like he had been relatively lost, when all the orders started coming in.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Laird Hunt said...

juuuuuuuuuuj mnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

8:47 PM  
Blogger Laird Hunt said...

(courtesy of the cat, Mouse)

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good site. Thank you!!!
penis enlargement pill
best penis enlargement pill
natural penis enlargement pill
penis enlargement pill review
do penis enlargement pill work
enlargement penis pills
buy penis pills
cheap penis enlargement pill
penis enlargement pill
penis enlargement pill product
herbal penis enlargement pill
cheapest penis enlargement pill
penis enlargement pills
buy penis enlargement pill
natural penis enlargement
penis enlargement pills online
natural penis enlargement pill
penis enlargement drug
penis enlargement natural
See you tomorrow!

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

4:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home