There had to be willed extremism at either end of the moral spectrum, each of his escape-dreams of self-transformation subverting the meaning and mocking the intention of the other. If he had gone off solely to become a doctor, driven only by that high moral ardor, or, if he had just gone around impersonating a pornographer, spewing only that anarchic and alienating rage, he wouldnt have been my man. He has two dominant modes: his mode of self-abnegation, and his fuck-em mode. You want a bad Jewish boy, thats what youre going to get. He rests from one by taking up the other; though, as we see, its not much of a rest. The thing about Zuckerman that interests me is that everybodys split, but few so openly as this. Everybody is full of cracks and fissures, but usually we see people trying very hard to hide the places where theyre split. Most people desperately want to heal their lesions, and keep trying.
Plainwater: Essays and poetry by Anne carson - goodreads
Interviewer can you say more about these crises? Roth in The Ghost Writer the crisis—one among many—had to do with Zuckerman, Amy bellette, and Anne Frank. It wasnt easy to see that Amy bellette as Anne Frank was and Zuckermans own creation. Only by working through numerous alternatives did I plan decide that not only was she his creation, but that she might possibly be her own creation too, a young woman inventing herself within Zuckermans invention. To enrich his fantasy without obfuscation or muddle, to be ambiguous and clear—well, that was my writing problem through one whole summer and fall. In Zuckerman Unbound the crisis was a result of failing to see that Zuckermans father shouldnt already be dead when the book begins. I eventually realized that the death should come at the conclusion of the book, allegedly as a consequence of the sons blasphemous best-seller. But, starting off, Id got the thing back to front, and then I stared at it dumbly for months, seeing nothing. I knew that I wanted the book to veer away from Alvin Pepler—I like to be steamrolling along in one direction and then to spring my surprise—but I couldnt give up the premise of my earliest drafts until I saw that the novels obsessive concern. How you juxtapose the events can tie you up in knots and rearranging the sequence can free you suddenly to streak for the finish line. In The Anatomy lesson the discovery i made—having banged the typewriter with my head far too long—was that Zuckerman, in the moment that he takes flight for Chicago to try to become a doctor, should begin to impersonate a pornographer.
Interviewer you spoke of the last phase of writing a novel being a crisis in which long you turn against the material and hate the work. Is there always this crisis, with every book? Months of looking at the manuscript and saying, This is wrong—but whats wrong? I ask myself, If this book were a dream, it would be a dream of what? But when Im asking this Im also trying to believe in what ive written, to forget that its writing and to say, this has taken place, even if it hasnt. The idea is to perceive your invention as a reality that can be understood as a dream. The idea is to turn flesh and blood into literary characters and literary characters into flesh and blood.
Interviewer do you show your work in progress to anyone? Roth its more useful apple for my mistakes to ripen and burst in their own good time. I give myself all the opposition I need while Im writing, and praise is meaningless to me when i know something isnt even half finished. Nobody sees what Im doing until i absolutely cant go any further and might even like to believe that Im done. Interviewer do you have a roth reader in mind when you write? I occasionally have an anti-roth reader in mind. I think, how he is going to hate this! That can be just the encouragement I need.
I really dont care. Joyce carol Oates says somewhere that when writers ask each other what time they start working and when they finish and how much time they take for lunch, theyre actually trying to find out Is he as crazy as i am? I dont need that question answered. Interviewer does your reading affect what you write? Roth i read all the time when Im working, usually at night. Its a way of keeping the circuits open. Its a way of thinking about my line of work while getting a little rest from the work at hand. It helps inasmuch as it fuels the overall obsession.
Nonfiction book review: Plainwater: Essays and poetry by Anne
Fluency can be a sign that nothing is happening; fluency can actually be my signal to stop, while being in the dark from sentence to sentence is what convinces me to. Interviewer, must you have a beginning? Would you ever begin with youth an ending? For all i know, i am beginning with the ending. My page one can wind up a year later as page two hundred, if its still even around. Interviewer, what happens to those hundred or so pages that you have left over?
Do you save them up? Roth, i generally prefer never to see them again. Do you work best at any particular time of the day? Roth, i work all day, morning and afternoon, just about every day. If I sit there like that for two or three years, at the end I have a book. Do you think other writers work such long hours? Roth, i dont ask writers about their work habits.
Okay, i say to myself, thats your beginning, start there; thats the first paragraph of the book. Ill go over the first six months of work and underline in red a paragraph, a sentence, sometimes no more than a phrase, that has some life in it, and then Ill type all these out on one page. Usually it doesnt come to more than one page, but if Im lucky, thats the start of page one. I look for the liveliness to set the tone. After the awful beginning come the months of freewheeling play, and after the play come the crises, turning against your material and hating the book.
Interviewer, how much of a book is in your mind before you start? Roth, what matters most isnt there at all. I dont mean the solutions to problems, i mean the problems themselves. Youre looking, as you begin, for whats going to resist you. Youre looking for trouble. Sometimes in the beginning uncertainty arises not because the writing is difficult, but because it isnt difficult enough.
Plainwater: Essays and poetry by Anne carson, paperback barnes
Interviewer, how do you get started on a new book? Philip roth, beginning a book is unpleasant. Im for entirely uncertain about the character and the predicament, and a character in his predicament diary is what I have to begin with. Worse than not knowing your subject is not knowing how to treat it, because thats finally everything. I type out beginnings and theyre awful, more of an unconscious parody of my previous book than the breakaway from it that I want. I need something driving down the center of a book, a magnet to draw everything to it—thats what I look for during the first months of writing something new. I often have to write a hundred pages or more before theres a paragraph thats alive.
I edited them down to for a manageable size and sent my version on to him. Then there was a long pause while he went back to America and. The Anatomy lesson was published. Early in 1984, on his next visit to England, we resumed; he revised my version and we talked about the revision until it acquired its final form. I found this process extremely interesting. The mood of the interview had changed in the six months between his finishing a novel and starting new work; it became more combative and buoyant. And the several drafts in themselves displayed Roths methods of work: raw chunks of talk were processed into stylish, energetic, concentrated prose, and the return to past thoughts generated new ideas. The result provides an example, as well as an account, of Philip Roths presentation of himself.
Irving Howe, a margin. Chekhov, john Cheevers, oh What a paradise It seems, fordyces, behavioral Methods for Chronic pain and Illness (useful for Zuckerman Claire Blooms autobiography, limelight and After, and some, paris review interviews. We talked in this businesslike cell for a day and a half, pausing only for meals. I was looked after with great thoughtfulness. Roths manner, which matches his appearance—subdued, conventional clothes, gold-rimmed spectacles, the look of a quiet professional American visitor to london, perhaps an academic or a lawyer—is courteous, mild, and responsive. He listens carefully to everything, makes lots of quick jokes, and likes to be amused. Just underneath this benign appearance there is a ferocious concentration and mental rapacity; everything is grist for his mill, no vagueness is tolerated, differences of opinion are pounced on greedily, and nothing that might be useful is let slip. Thinking on his feet, he develops his ideas through a playful use of figurative language—as much as a way of avoiding confessional answers (though he can be very direct) as of interesting himself. The transcripts from this taped conversation were long, absorbing, funny, disorganized, and repetitive.
Courtesy of Philip Roth, i met Philip Roth after I had published a short book about his work for the methuen Contemporary Writers Series. He read the book and wrote me a generous letter. After our first meeting, he sent me the fourth draft. The Anatomy lesson, which we later talked about, because, in the final stages of writing a novel, roth likes to get as much criticism year and response as he can from a few interested readers. Just after he finished. The Anatomy lesson we began the, paris review interview. We met in the early summer of 1983 at the royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, where roth occasionally takes a room to work in when hes visiting England.
This is not a review: plainwater by anne carson matilda magtree
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