Thursday, October 30, 2008

Remembrance of selves past

“There's nothing unusual about writers recycling material. They're a larcenous bunch; literature is an economy based almost entirely on theft. But when a writer steals from him- or herself, something quite different is going on. This kind of revisiting is a way for older writers to make contact with their younger selves across the abyss of time--to engage themselves in conversation, to argue over what they missed and what they got wrong and, above all, to register the ways that time has altered their understanding of the world--to get, by means of triangulation, some perspective on the years that separate them. By going over old ground, these old masters aren't just looking back. They are annexing new territory.”

-- Lev Grossman in Time, on the ranking triumvirate of Philip Roth, Toni Morrison and John Updike (75, 77 and 76, respectively) releasing new novels roughly at the same time where “they return to a story they first told much earlier in their careers”

Which of the three do you read, and like? I worship Morrison for her novels, Updike for his essays and criticism (snagged a copy of his gargantuan anthology More Matter for P250!), Roth--well, I can't relate much to his work, and by the time I read the “brilliant, pneumatically obscene” Portnoy's Complaint (Grossman's words), it had lost much of its prurient sting. Or maybe because I boned up on Harold Robbins first?

PLUS: “When she speaks, America listens”--Toni Morrison observed by The Observer


Jas said...

Si Graham Greene at Peter Carey!

gibbs cadiz said...

JAS, great choices! :)

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