Did pop literature exist in the past?
Absolutely! Our latest bracket selections for the big Tournament include two of the most famous, hugely popular, world-renowned writers ever— both American– in the persons of Jack London and Edgar Allan Poe. From the days when the most fascinating, charismatic, or crazy persons in society became writers. (Which made for fascinating reading.)
Another selectee, Emily Dickinson, could be called a pop poet. The fourth, Tennessee Williams, a pop playwright? That’s stretching it.
Does their work hold up?
Read Jack London’s terrific story “Lost Face” and find out.
–in the foundations of the world was graved this end for him– for him, who was so fine and sensitive, whose nerves scarcely sheltered under his skin, who was a dreamer, and a poet, and an artist. Before he was dreamed of, it had been determined that the quivering bundle of sensitiveness that constituted him should be doomed to live in raw and howling savagery–
NOW we’ve stepped into it! Two literary controversies at one time, both of them connected to the All-Time American Writers Tournament. (We’ve been offering exclusive coverage of the tourney here.)
FIRST is the seldom-discussed matter of T.S. Eliot. Where lies his allegiance? America or Britain? Is Eliot considered a British poet– or an American one? Where should lie our allegiance? Contribute to the discussion, if you dare– should you care– here.
SECOND, we believe we’ve thrown new and historic light on the friendship between the two biggest names in American literary history, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. How deep went their feud? WAS Scott a passive actor– a simple punching bag; on the receiving end of Ernest’s shots and scorns– as our nation’s most esteemed lit critics seem to believe? Or did Fitzgerald get his shots in against one-time protégé Hemingway– not once, but twice?
Are we prepared to take on the entire U.S. lit-crit establishment over this issue?
Read about the matter here.
State-of-the-art thinking about writing and writers, letters and words, only at New Pop Lit.
(Public domain image of Ritz Bar in Paris with photo of Scott Fitzgerald.)
Have people figured out what we’re up to?
We’re out to reinvent the American novel– and transform reading in so doing.
The All-Time American Writers Tournament is an ongoing novel– the novel as living entity– written in front of your eyes. Performed in real time across several platforms: twitter; website; blogs. Chief venue is here. The Tournament is part narrative, part criticism, part satire, and (hopefully) all fun.
The novel won’t survive as a vibrant and necessary art form unless it becomes as entertaining and immediate as possible. Our new kind of novel contains characters fictional and real. Living and dead.
A literary movie, in lights, STARRING:
Ernest Hemingway, Emily Dickinson, Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac, Maya Angelou, Norman Mailer, and a host of other literary stars.
WHO will win the Tournament? No one knows– yet.
Moreover, it’s a novel in which YOU can take part. We’re soliciting “Appreciations” of individual American writers of any type or variety. Five words to 250. (See our latest.) If you’re game and able, send yours in an email to newpoplitATgmail along with link or mini-bio.
At New Pop Lit the future begins NOW.
#2 Tournament Seeds
Make that Four GREAT American Writers. . . .
With our latest entrants into the big Tournament, discussed here, we have something to displease everyone. We live in hysterical times when everyone across the ideological spectrum is displeased by something.
Reminder: We’re still one America. There yet exists that magical idea known as American literature; best expression of the American Dream– as we argue in the essay accompanying our announcement.
But: Another Big Four. What do you think of them? Anyone among the Four to love? Anyone to hate?
there’s no “white” literature or “black” literature, or this division or that one. There’s only American literature.
See our first-hand report.
Featured are four of the biggest names in American literary history: Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Mark Twain. Not to be missed!
The All-Time American Writers Tournament is underway.
(New fiction from current writers is upcoming next week.)
(Photo of Hemingway c/o JFK Library & Museum in Boston.)
One of our favorite lines from Herman Melville’s magical novel Moby Dick is this one:
“It is not down in any map; true places never are.”
Melville was speaking about the novel form itself. He could as well have been referring to our Tournament. Appropriate, then, that Herman Melville is the third #1 seed entered into the All-Time American Writers Tournament. Read our reasons for his selection– and discover the fourth #1, here.
Since our theme with this post is the novel, we’ve also written a short review of the latest novel by Samuel Stevens, Lone Crusader. The American has traditionally been a seeker. An adventurer. Melville wrote about this kind of person. So does Stevens.
Adventure was once in the American bloodstream, was long a key component of American writing. “Literary” fiction of the New York/Iowa variety has long discounted this component. Today, we at New Pop Lit celebrate it.
SOME turmoil anyway as we experiment with our All-Time American Writers Tournament to see how alive or dead interest in historical American writers is in this crazed nation. Who’ll stand out?
We’ve announced our first two selections. See what you think.
We’ll keep the Tournament chiefly at our Interactive and News blogs– while we soon get back on track posting current fiction, book reviews, and the like. Stick with us!
(Email tourney suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Who’s good enough to make the tournament? Certain writers are gimmes– but 64 spots, when you start listing writers, isn’t a lot. The New Pop Lit Competition Committee hasn’t decided if there will be a play-in game. Who should we start thinking about?
Sinclair Lewis? Anne Sexton? Pearl Buck? David Mamet? Zora Neale Hurston? Fanny Hurst? Maya Angelou? John “The Mummy” Updike? Charlie Bukowski? Ezra Pound? Carl Sandburg? Gertrude Stein? Sherwood Anderson? Truman Capote? Zane Grey? Herman Wouk? James Jones? James Baldwin? Ray Bradbury? James Cain? James Fenimore Cooper? Harriet Beecher Stowe? Isaac Asimov? Ayn Rand? Mario Puzo? John Berryman? Bernard Malamud? Richard Wright? Ray Carver? Raymond Chandler? Lillian Hellman? Mary McCarthy? Katherine Anne Porter? Any contemporary poets? Any fantasy writers? Let’s have some names!
In the meantime, we’ll start on the easy part– the #1 seeds. Coming next.
(Image from the 1961 classic movie, “El Cid.”)