Thursday, August 18, 2005

Rachel Donadio II

A further remark about the recent Rachel Donadio essay in New York Times Book Review, in which she bemoans the current state of fiction in the culture.

At the end of the essay, she expresses hope that in future decades another Tolstoy will drop a modern-day War and Peace upon us. This wish, disconnected from the world around her, reveals the literary set's cluelessness.

She may want to someday read what Tolstoy himself said about the matter in "What Is Art?", in which he mocked schools cranking out legions of copycat artists and writers who know only how to create imitations of imitations, dumping thousands-- or millions-- of their unoriginal products onto the market, obscuring the discovery of original stuff. His is a perfect description of the cause of the sad condition of literary fiction (and poetry!) in recent years.

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