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Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Non-Career Advice 

Daniel Green of the Reading Experience, a fairly new blog that's joined my hit parade of lit blogs, offers up some provocative commentary on whether the "book business" stunts an author's opportunity to produce his or her very best work:

The "book business" is something to avoid. What has the book business ever done for American literature (or Canadian literature, as the case may be)? Earlier incarnations of the book business (now the "industry") overlooked Hawthorne, neglected Melville, probably helped to kill E.A. Poe, sneered at Mark Twain, ran Henry James off to Europe, couldn't at first have cared less about Faulkner. Even now some of the best American writers--Gaddis, Gilbert Sorrentino, James Purdy, John Hawkes, numerous others--have been and still are cast aside by the "industry," obliged to supplement their "careers" through teaching, or advertising, or not at all and forced to just scrape by. Most of these writers thought the "book business" their enemy.

I've posted my comments over there--naturally, my opinion is quite a bit different than Daniel's--and Robert Birnbaum and Mark Sarvas have done so as well.

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