Archive for July, 2001

Jul 25 2001

Dear Friend

Published by Brian under linguistics, essay

A web of letters as represented by a spider's web The practice of letter writing seems to be disappearing along with the word, epistle. In The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, Thomas Moore laments the excuse that “we’re too busy.” “In letters and essays written by previous generations, I’m struck by the absence of the common modern complaint ‘I didn’t write because I’m too busy’” [page 6]. If it were just the loss of the word, I wouldn’t worry; but the practice of writing letters is disappearing as well. Moore, in Soul Mates, argues a strong case for the intimacy and clarity of affect that are possible in letters. The epistolary form has been, from ancient times, a way of offering counsel, consolation, and conspiracy. Today, the letter is created to look personal, but it’s just my name ink-jetted on a form. College classes are offered in letter writing—but for the purpose of becoming an effective capitalist, not a good lover or adviser. Continue Reading »

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Jul 12 2001

This Is Not a Novel

Published by Brian under philosophy, fiction, reviews

review by Brian Charles Clark

This Is Not a Novel
by David Markson
Counterpoint, 2001

This is NOt a Novel by David MarksonFor nearly forty years Markson has been writing brilliant novels. His new “novel” (if that’s what it is) is disquietingly similar to his 1996 Reader’s Block, which itself followed the 1988 publication of Wittgenstein’s Mistress, Markson’s best known work. I say “disquietingly” similar, because, as Markson informs us in This Is Not a Novel, Reader’s Block was “a flop.” Indeed, where Mistress won the hearts of many a reviewer and critic, and found it’s way onto many of that year’s “best books” lists, Reader was almost universally ignored: “Wittgenstein, it is you who are creating all the confusion!” Markson writes (141). Continue Reading »

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