Posts tagged Literature
Posts tagged Literature
"…I who have had so much of peace and so much of love, I have never really believed in either one." - Denis Johnson
“Hippies,” Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond.
Pulp fiction novels of the 30s, 40s, and 50s were the progressive, some times fantastical, and at times kitsch creative renderings of the repressed American. These hyper-popular escapist texts gave voice to unspoken truths otherwise censured by a puritanic culture.
Sparse | mordant | honest,
Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul fancies his acuity as such.
And I suppose it is. Hemingway.
Leaving the Whitney today, a friend of a friend of a friend happened to be reading a Naipaul novel outside of the museum and the conversation quickly diverted to the censuring comments the author made of women writers last May.
The friend of the friend of the friend huffed “Ugh. Naipaul is a misogynist,” and without context I shunned the self-aggrandizing novelist to that deep dark bad in my spirit.
But, doubling back for contexture.
The author, who was born in Trinidad [of Indian descent], said this was because of women’s “sentimentality, the narrow view of the world”. “And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too,” he said. (The Guardian)
And like that, no longer offended, as it is apparent Naipaul’s perspective is as picayune as they come. The irony. Reminiscent of Pausanias’ speech in The Symposium: Love honoring ‘Heavenly Aphrodite’ springs entirely of the male and is free of wantonness; is intellectual, soulful, and longstanding. ‘Common Aphrodite’ is of the female and is provincial, prurient, and coquettish. Right… Ryan Murphy’s bible.
Blame the patriarchy. Basically.
Naipaul’s view of women is almost exclusively jaded by his inability to eclipse culturalisms. The lens of a female NYC writer is dissimilar to that of female writer from Lancaster, PA than a female writer from a remote village in the Sikkim state of India, than an Egyptian female writer, than a female writer from Wales, than an oracle, than a Brian Griffin.
Conditioning and access, not the dyadic composition of chromosomes, is most emblematic of a person’s ascribed writing style, of their depth perception.
Alex Clark, a literary journalist, said, “It’s absurd. I suspect VS Naipaul thinks that there isn’t anyone who is his equal. Is he really saying that writers such as Hilary Mantel, A S Byatt, Iris Murdoch are sentimental or write feminine tosh?” (IBN Live)
His Eruditeness, Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipul, this, this eludes him.
by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Esquire. 1936.
Jessie Fauset, Cornell University, Class of 1905.
Jessie Fauset attended Girl’s High in Philadelphia. She wished to continue her scholarly endeavors at the Seven Sister, Bryn Mawr College, but Bryn Mawr’s student body and trustees slighted even Southern Europeans who were brow-raisingly tawny, so melanin of Fauset’s sort was inconceivable. Standard of yesteryear’s Americants.
Bryn Mawr’s president diplomatically rectified this injustice by
telegraphing pony-expressing contacting her buddies at Cornell University. Cornell accepted Jessie Fauset, boasting Ezra Cornell’s founding mantra “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”
And there you have it.
At Cornell, Jessie Fauset was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Society. It is believed she is the first African American woman granted this honor. Fauset graduated from Cornell with a degree in Classical Languages and received her Masters in French from the University of Pennsylvania. She went on to become an arbiter of the Harlem Renaissance, cementing historical prominence as an accomplished novelist, essayist, poet, and editor.
[Photo is part of the Yale University Collection of American Literature and depicts Jessie Fauset, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston on the campus of Tuskegee University the summer of 1927.]