Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I can't read literary blogs.

I'm referring to weblogs like The Reading Experience and Maud Newton that concern themselves primarily with writing about literature.

My reaction to these sites was ably summarized by Bulgakov 74 years ago. Bulgakov's A Theatrical Novel contains the following exchange between Leontiy Sergeevich, who has just written a play, Ivan Vasilevich, a producer, and his old aunt, Nastasia Ivanova, who is speaking as the passage begins:

- So why have you come to see Ivan Vasilevich?
- Leontiy Sergeevich, --interjected Ivan Vasilevich, -- has brought me a play.
- Whose play? --asked the old woman, looking at me with sorrowful eyes.
- Leontiy Sergeevich has composed a play himself!
- But why? --anxiously asked Nastasia Ivanova.
- What do you mean, why? ...Hmm...hmm....
- Have we no plays these days? --replied Nastasia Ivanova, gently and condescendingly. --How many wonderful plays exist! Begin to perform them all, one after another -- twenty years later you would not run out of plays! Why, then, create a new one?

She was so convincing that I was unable to fashion a response.
This is how I feel about literary blogs: must they write about new books? Are we running out of old books? The problem with recently published material is that I haven't read most of it and the most I can get out of a review is an item to add to my wish list. Why not write about the "old" authors all of us are roughly familiar with?


Post a Comment

<< Home