Prufrock's Page

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Stories Matter

There's been this lowbrow/highbrow tussle between novels of plot and novels of character for a long time. Well, here's A.S. Byatt on the importance of storytelling:

"One of my theories of British literature is that it suddenly began to flower -- the British novel -- in the 1970s because the novelists realized they didn't give a damn about literary theory. Or literary critics. And they started telling stories. And the reviewers were still saying, you know, stories are vulgar. Everything is random and haphazard and kind of a miasma. But the storytellers, people like Salman Rushdie and Angela Carter, continued telling stories. I'm sure it has to do with a kind of split in my generation between university and being a writer."

(From Critical Mass, "the blog of the national book critics board of directors".)


  • Thank you for this post. Storytelling is precious. I would even extend this debate to challenge the cliched wisdom they share in creative writing classes: "show don't tell." But I am all for storytelling. I think someone like Paul Auster also does a lot of telling in his novels, and I appreciate that. Thank you for posting on this blog and at Metaxu cafe.

    By Blogger Rebecca Jane, at 6:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home