The End of Oulipo?

The End of Oulipo? My book (co-authored with Lauren Elkin), published by Zero Books. Available everywhere. Order it from Amazon, or find it in bookstores nationwide. The End of Oulipo

Lady Chatterley’s Brother

Lady Chatterley's Brother. The first ebook in the new TQC Long Essays series, Lady Chatterley's Brothercalled “an exciting new project” by Chad Post of Open Letter and Three Percent. Why can't Nicholson Baker write about sex? And why can Javier Marias? We investigate why porn is a dead end, and why seduction paves the way for the sex writing of the future. Read an excerpt.

Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and direct from this site:


Translate This Book!

Ever wonder what English is missing? Called "a fascinating Life Perecread" by The New Yorker, Translate This Book! brings together over 40 of the top translators, publishers, and authors to tell us what books need to be published in English. Get it on Kindle.

For low prices on Las Vegas shows visit LasVegas.ShowTickets.com

You Say

Group Reads

The Tunnel

Fall Read: The Tunnel by William H. Gass

A group read of the book that either "engenders awe and despair" or "[goads] the reader with obscenity and bigotry," or both. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Naked Singularity

Summer Read: A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava

Fans of Gaddis, Pynchon, DeLillo: A group read of the book that went from Xlibris to the University of Chicago Press. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Life Perec

Life A User's Manual by Georges Perec

Starting March 2011, read the greatest novel from an experimental master. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Last Samurai

Fall Read: The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

A group read of one of the '00s most-lauded postmodern novels. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Tale of Genji

The Summer of Genji

Two great online lit magazines team up to read a mammoth court drama, the world's first novel.

Your Face Tomorrow

Your Face This Spring

A 3-month read of Javier Marias' mammoth book Your Face Tomorrow

Shop though these links = Support this site


Ten Memorable Quotes from William Gaddis’ Letters

New Books
Here are ten of my favorite moments from these hugely interesting letters.


Interviews from Conversational Reading

New Books
See this page for interviews with leading authors, translators, publishers, and more.


  • A Legacy by Sybille Bedford March 15, 2015
    Sybille Bedford had the benefit—or bad fortune, however you see it—of being born into the German aristocracy in 1911. Her father was a retired lieutenant colonel and art collector from the agrarian south, from a Roman Catholic family in fiscal decline. Her mother came from a wealthy German-Jewish family from Hamburg. A widower from his first marriage, Bedfor […]
  • Reviving Antal Szerb March 15, 2015
    Antal Szerb’s lithe, lively, and wholly endearing fiction is peopled by male dreamers on spiritual journeys of self-discovery. Each one sets out on his respective mini-mission with good intentions but knows from the outset that there are only so many harsh truths he can withstand. In this respect, all Szerb’s protagonists seem to have heeded the advice of Gr […]
  • 39 Africans Walk into a Bar March 15, 2015
    New anthologies of African fiction seem to materialize virtually every year, if not more often in recent years. When presented with the physical fact of yet another new anthology of African fiction, the immediate question, one which I was asked when I pressed the warm, bound pages of the Africa39 anthology into the even warmer hands of a new acquaintance, wa […]
  • The Country Road by Regina Ullmann March 15, 2015
    This collection of short stories, her first to appear in English, counters material poverty with a fulfilling and deeply spiritual relationship with the natural world. Ullmann herself was no stranger to hardship. A depressive, she was plagued by personal and professional crises. Financial constraints forced her to send her illegitimate children to the countr […]
  • The Fall of Language in the Age of English by Minae Mizumura March 14, 2015
    The Fall of Language in the Age of English stirred up debate upon its publication in Japan in 2008, and it’s possible it will do so in the U.S. with its arrival in Mari Yoshihara and Juliet Winters Carpenter's translation. In their introduction, Yoshihara and Winters Carpenter, point out that Japanese reviewers accused Mizumura of being a jingoist, an e […]
  • Another View: Tracing the Foreign in Literary Translation by Eduard Stoklosinski March 14, 2015
    Another View demonstrates exciting potential in translation study and praxis. It is especially significant in deconstructing assumptions about fluency and linguistic identity. The author makes some persuasive arguments for considering and even preferring non-native translation of texts, the most controversial of which is the possibility that linguistic compe […]
  • The Latest Five from Dalkey Archive’s “Library of Korea” Series March 14, 2015
    Despite South Korea having the kind of vibrant literary scene you'd expect from a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, we're still not exactly inundated with English translations of South Korean fiction. Given this dearth, Dalkey Archive Press's Library of Korean Literature series, twenty five titles published in collab […]
  • B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal by J.C. Hallman March 14, 2015
    here’s a conspicuous history of books that simply should not work: Books like U & I by Nicholson Baker, a book-length exercise in “memory criticism,” where Baker traces Updike’s influence on his own writing life while studiously not actually re-reading any of Updike’s books. Or books like Out of Sheer Rage, Geoff Dyer’s book that procrastinates away from […]
  • The Valerie Miles Interview March 14, 2015
    The idea was to uncover the secret life of these texts, why do their creators consider them their best work? What’s the clandestine, the underground, the surreptitious meaning or attachment? Where’s the kernel, the seed from which a body of work grew, what the driving obsession? Is it something sentimental, something technical, maybe even something spiritual […]
  • On Being Blue by William H. Gass March 14, 2015
    Look up at the sky, or down into the ocean, and what color do you see? We see blue, but not Homer—he never once employs the term throughout The Iliad and The Odyssey, famously calling the sea "wine-dark" and the heavens "bronze." Neither did the Greek philosopher Xenophanes say blue—he described the rainbow as having only three colors. Th […]

Essay By Karl Ove Knausgaard

Eurozine has what looks to be a post-My Struggle essay by Karl Ove Knausgaard. Despite declaring My Struggle to be his end as an author, he published a book of essays after it and looks to still be writing . . .

The job of literary editor is practised under a kind of shadow cast by the author’s name. Though some editors have emerged from the sidelines, they tend to be thought of as notorious rather than famous because “editor” and “famous” are somehow inherently incompatible concepts – a contradiction in terms. Gordon Lish is a case in point: among other tasks, he was Raymond Carver’s editor and became known as “Captain Fiction”. Hemingway’s editor, Maxwell Perkins, who A. Scott Berg dubbed “Editor of Genius”, is another example. One of the best-known editorial interventions ever was made by Ezra Pound, although he was of course not really an editor but the one who scrutinized, in his capacity as a friend, an early version of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and pruned it ruthlessly until he achieved the format we know now.

Gordon Lish’s style as an editor was just as independent and uncompromising. His editing actually created the language we now believe to be Carver’s and which undoubtedly contributed to making his name as a writer, even though the author himself felt ambivalent about it. The difference was there for all to see when Carver’s own manuscripts were published posthumously and his padded, fluid stories seemed almost unrecognizable. There can be no real argument about the conclusion that the editor’s Carver was an improvement on Carver’s Carver. How did that make Carver feel when he was awarded prizes and praise for being the great new name in American literature, one wonders? The example is interesting, because if the job of the editor is to influence matters for the sake of the book and not for his own benefit, nor even the author’s, then it can be argued that Lish went too far; but relative to what? Given that the book became much better, is the damage done to the author’s self-esteem really so important? Without Lish, Carver’s books would have been worse and he would have been regarded as a middling, rather than a brilliant, writer. This fact leads one to question what an author is – and where the boundaries lie between the writer, the world around him and his book. . . .

You Might Also Like:

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Lish’d Unfortunately, it’s not enough for literary writers like Lish to simply be great, innovative artists. They need to be linked to something “important” before they...
  2. Karl Kraus as Tedious Indictment of the Internet I really hope that Andrew Winer’s review of The Kraus Project in the LARB isn’t indicative of either, 1) the content of Franzen/Kraus’s book, or...
  3. Gert Jonke Essay And Stories Last year I read Homage to Czerny (Google Book text here) by Austrian writer Gert Jonke for the Best Translated Book Award. It wasn't quite...
  4. In the Country of Last Things, Review/Essay Every now and then I’d like to post a little something about a book I recently read. I’m not sure if these are reviews or...
  5. My Essay on My Two Worlds The Critical Flame has just published my essay on Sergio Chejfec’s My Two Worlds. Here it is. My Two Worlds is a dance, a seduction...

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

1 comment to Essay By Karl Ove Knausgaard

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>