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.)
#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.
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.
Attention All Writers!
Especially if you live in the Detroit area. New Pop Lit editors Karl Wenclas and Kathleen Crane will be doing a presentation for NaNoWriMo at the Troy Public Library on 11/17. Details at our News page here.
ALSO, we’re still promoting our Fun Pop Poetry feature. We have several cat poems coming up and we’re shy at least one good cat photo. Send your candidates in .jpg format to email@example.com. Thanks!
(Cat photo c/o Scott Cannon– same cat to be featured in a new poem.)
The topic of conversation this week in the established literary world is the publication of Jonathan Franzen’s latest big novel, Purity— one of those sporadic books meant to justify the existence of said literary world. No American novelist over the past fifteen years has received the same level of critical attention combined with media hype.
Is the hype justified?
To answer that question, NEW POP LIT’s Karl Wenclas questions the esteemed author and book reviewer Tom LeClair, who reviewed Franzen’s novel last week at The Daily Beast. Now LeClair amplifies his thoughts; holding nothing back as he examines Franzen, other reviewers, and the current state of American literature and publishing. Read our exclusive interview with him now!
–the critics who go along with Time’s assertion that Franzen is a “Great American Novelist” will be found out and mocked. . . .
John Colapinto has written a novel he’d like to have published in the United States. Undone is its title. Despite being an excellent writer and on the staff of the esteemed The New Yorker magazine; despite having an impressive resume; despite having been published by book giant Harper-Collins previously– forty U.S. publishers have declined to publish Undone because of its potentially offensive plotline. Even though the novel is well written and entertaining.
What’s happening? Have we entered a new Victorian Age?
Is John Colapinto a latter-day D.H. Lawrence, Allen Ginsberg, or James Joyce?
NEW POP LIT’s Karl Wenclas interviews Mr. Colapinto in an attempt to understand the controversy. Read the interview here.
THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN TODAY’S PUBLISHING SCENE.