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Monday, March 30, 2020


It used to strike me when people thought studying poetry was an unusual thing. So I would get things like "why not study fiction?"  There is no reason not to study fiction if that is your interest, of course, but nobody would ask the question the other way around. Or they would randomly tell me that they had read a poem in the New Yorker. These are professors of literature I am talking about, not people off the street. It would be like telling a film scholar that you had once seen a movie, as though it were an unusual thing to do.

Or, my department was known for poetry because there were two or three people doing it.

This was when the default was prose, and scholars of poetry and drama were seen as unusual. Know, of course, there is no default to prose, because people don't even see themselves as experts in prose fiction, or any other genre of literature. Maybe the default is that they use novels just to have something to hang their ideology on.

I am not a big reader of fiction. I used to read the standard novelists of the day, who were Bellow, Updike, and Roth when I was young.

I was reading a novel in the airbnb in Granada, by Llamazares. I thought the writing was intolerable. There would be things like: "My girlfriend broke up with me; it was one of the worst days of my life." The plot situations were stereotypical, and the characters barely developed. The main character is a painter, but I didn't actually believe he was a painter. He just seemed too shallow.

1 comment:

Leslie B. said...

I've read three novels this semester that I can think of. One for fun and one for school, both mind blowing. I also read a Nobel prizewinning novel and found it bland.