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2005 Booker prize longlist


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Good point about looking outside the canon, Alex. That can be fruitful, of course. Writers fall off the bandwagon for all kinds of reasons. Patrick Hamilton, for example, eludes every effort at resuscitation - but he's not only a better, but also a much funnier writer than Martin Amis.

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I came up with a new theory about all this the other day.  The advantage of reading literature which is more than fifty years old is that, by and large, history has saved you a lot of trouble by sweeping all the rubbish into the trashcan.  Unless you deliberately go out of your way to find obscure and forgotten novels (which I sometimes do).

it took zora neale hurston more than 50 years to be found again. i know you're not entirely serious but things sometimes get swept away for other reasons as well.

 

some people will say that terry southern deserves to be read far more than he likely will be in another 10 years. and that updike does not (even though all his novels will likely be in print).

 

edit: to note that wilf conceded as much in a cross-post

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If I was going to be marginally more serious, I would clarify matters by saying that I am not offering commercial longevity as a criterion of merit. There are too many counter-examples (also, I have rubbished that position when others have taken it). It remains true that most of what's published is both not very good and will be forgotten, and you can reduce your risks of wasting time on it by reading more past and less contemporary literature.

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Zadie Smith was interviewed by Charlie Rose last night. She's quite a traditionalist in a way --she firmly belives there are great books among the dross. She was also speaking about the odd mystique that some of the public associate with her and her husband's (he's a poet and novelist) daily lives. She said they do what everyone else does--do some work then eat pizza.

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Zadie Smith was interviewed by Charlie Rose last night. She's quite a traditionalist in a way --she firmly belives there are great books among the dross. She was also speaking about the odd mystique that some of the public associate with her and her husband's (he's a poet and novelist) daily lives. She said they do what everyone else does--do some work then eat pizza.

i do neither of these things.

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The Guardian had a longish article about the state of british poetry today. it's online here. The paper version has a nice recent picture of Prynn as well, but I don't think that's online. A decent enough summary from a fairly mainstream but not conservative perspective.

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Zadie Smith was interviewed by Charlie Rose last night. She's quite a traditionalist in a way --she firmly belives there are great books among the dross.  She was also speaking about the odd mystique that some of the public associate with her and her husband's (he's a poet and novelist) daily lives.  She said they do what everyone else does--do some work then eat pizza.

This may not be unrelated to the fact that the only even halfway adequate eatery round where they live is a pizzeria.

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