Saturday, July 16, 2011

Well, an explantion of the "artist of the moment" - by Dwight Macdonald

 Here it is, in the guise of a review of a novel, perhaps an explanation of the success of  some unnamed recent theatrical works.   The whole concept of buying a book one can't finish but that one is proud to own and display as owned has its musical equivalent. 

By Love Possessed [J.G. Cozzen] is his bid for immortality. 
It is Literature or it is nothing. Unfortunately none of
the reviewers has seriously considered the
second alternative. The book is not only a
best-seller, it is a succes d'estime....."

""He is not a literary man, he: is a writer,"
he observed, [Bernard de Voto about J.G. Cozzens] 
a little obscurely but I see what he means. "There are a handful like him in every age. Later on it
turns out they were "the ones who wrote
that age's literature." 

The wheel has comically come full circle: it used to be
those odd, isolated, brilliant writers who
were in advance of their times-the Stendhals,
the Melvilles, the Joyces, and Rimbauds-
who later on were discovered to be
"the ones who wrote that age's literature";
but now it is the sober, conscientious plodders,
who have a hard time just keeping up
with the procession, whose true worth is
temporarily obscured by their modish
avant-garde competitors.

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