Prufrock's Page

Monday, March 19, 2007

'Long Live The Novelist's Task'

"We need fiction to stretch our world," wrote Susan Sontag in one of her last essays, collected in At The Same Time, published this month: "A great writer of fiction both creates - through acts of imagination, through language that feels inevitable, through vivid forms - a new world, a world that is unique, individual; and responds to a world, the world the writer shares with other people but is unknown or mis-known by still more people, confined in their worlds: call that history, society, what you will." (The collection is reviewed by Pankaj Mishra, with typical gravitas, in The New York Times; he ends on this insightful note: "...the melancholy and occasional bitter wisdom of her last writings appear to be of a mature and passionately engaged American rather than of a marginal and jaded European sensibility.")


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