Prufrock's Page

Monday, April 23, 2007

Not Dead Or Dying

Hermoine Lee, masterful biographer of Virginia Woolf and, more recently, Edith Wharton, reads a bunch of books on the novel and comes to some conclusions: "...2006 seemed, to me at least, to be a year when the novel's survival and significance were not in question. To read over a hundred novels last year, as chair of the Man Booker Prize judges, was to step into a fabulous trove of linguistic inventiveness, passion, originality, and energy—as well as on occasion to be irritated, unconvinced, and bored to tears. Our judges' discussions kept returning to those centuries-old debates, where praise for seriousness, social responsibility, and moral meaning jostled against aesthetic pleasure in a high style or a well-played game. But in all our arguments we had no doubts that we were dealing with objects of value."

(Meanwhile, the British Stuart Kelly reads some literary fiction from the other side of the Atlantic and comes to a conclusion of his own: "The Americans are kicking our asses".)


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