Friday, October 21, 2005

Disingenuous Marcus

More About the Ben Marcus Essay in the October Harper's.

A few sentences from his essay reveal Ben Marcus as less than completely honest.

"I have never said that anyone who does not want to read difficult writing is a moron. I think there are pleasures and challenges to be had in both approaches. . . ."

Yet Marcus's friends have said essentially this, including in an essay which appeared in The Believer, a wordy journal his wife edits.

"Although those writers may be, in Franzen's view, failing with language, and although the whole venture may be doomed, it is their right to try and fail, as this failure might help readers discover new ways of thinking and feeling."

"--Franzen is not just criticizing a writer when he dismisses Gaddis; he's criticizing an audience, telling them that there's no way they could possibly like what they like. . . ."

Would Ben Marcus apply these statements to the writers and audience of the Underground Literary Alliance?

(To be continued.)

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