The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality.
T.S. Eliot

Literature's Legacy of Honorable Failure

Literature's Legacy of Honorable Failure

Mar 14, 2018-- Somewhere between a critic's necessary superficiality and a writer's natural dishonesty, the truth of how we judge literary success or failure is lost. It is very hard to get writers to speak frankly about their own work, particularly in a literary market where they are required to be not only writers, but also hucksters selling product. What makes a good writer? Is writing an expression of self, or, as TS Eliot argued, 'an escape from personality'? Do novelists have a duty? Do readers? Why are there so few truly great novels? Zadie Smith says "Readers fail writers just as often as writers fail readers. Readers fail when they allow themselves to believe the old mantra that fiction is the thing you relate to and writers the amenable people you seek out when you want to have your own version of the world confirmed and reinforced." Follow her research deep into literature's legacy of honourable failures. (3318 reads)


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Come to terms with death. Thereafter anything is possible.
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