Friday, October 22, 2004

Literary Cities: An Introduction

I'll be soon introducing a new series on this blog, examining the major literary cities in America (and maybe elsewhere). I'll approach the topic from the question of which cities are friendliest and most stimulating in terms of affordability, atmosphere, community; noise made about literature and curiosity about writers.


Before I begin I want to say a few words about the attitude of other cities to the Imperial City of New York, home base for the leading book companies and their organs of publicity.

Mainstream newspaper book reviewers and reporters in outlying cities practice slavish worship of the Manhattan book gods, giving lavish attention to the writers and products of that modern-day Rome, to the detriment of their own. The inferiority complex regarding New York is often striking; disappointing; at times revolting.

The appearance of trendy NYC conglomerate authors occasions wide attention, as if the visited city had no writers of its own; as if it's scarcely heard of literature; whose residents must rush from their homes in gratitude to embrace the generous interlopers condescending to grace streets with their presence and their tired imperial words.

Those lowly and servile journalistic creatures who pile on the praise are unhappy with their provincial jobs, and desire nothing so much as to be in New York. More, they wish to BE the imperialists. (Often the journalists went through indoctrination at Ivy League universities and so no longer identify with the residents of their own town, but with the Snobs.)

Anyway, the planned series on literary cities could prove exciting. Keep watching!

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