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If you sometimes get the feeling that my blog postings are frequently lacking in anything resembling a conclusion, you’re not alone.  I often feel that way myself.  Part of the problem, if it is a problem, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, is that it’s very difficult to wrap much up within the space I’ve allotted […]

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A distinct sameness has been pervading the stories the kids in my writing class are working on.  A sameness almost unrelieved, despite all our talk about visual writing, and looking at examples in books, by description of any sort.  Our mice live in featureless worlds.  They display only the most rudimentary hints of personality.  I’d […]

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Jack Kerouac’s motto is supposed to have been “first thought = best thought.”  I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that he thought up a lot of other mottos before settling on that zippy little nugget of wisdom.  Kerouac was even more of a liar than is usual with writers; he even lied about his methods […]

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It had been absolute donkey’s years since I’d read the 761pages of The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, published in 1750 by Henry Fielding and frequently praised ever since for, among other things, the intricate structure of the plot.  I had thoroughly enjoyed it back when I’d read it in my 18th century novel […]

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But wait.  Is Mrs. Dalloway really about buying flowers?  Not exactly, although in A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf says that buying flowers is a perfectly worthy topic.  Actually, what she suggests is that buying dresses is as important as things that men do, such as fight wars and play football. I once found […]

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Sharp-eyed readers of my recent attempts to work out a theory of literature will be excused if they have begun to suspect that I’m more interested in how something is written than what it is about.  Virginia Woolf once responded to a correspondent as follows: . . . don’t, I beg of you, father on […]

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As for subjects, there’s really only one, and that’s people, isn’t it?  Virginia Woolf takes H. G. Wells to task for writing instead about things.  She’s right.  Wells’ characters talk just they do in the recent movie Flyboys, an oater about airplanes.  Unfortunately there are actors in the airplanes, and the actors have to deliver […]

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What makes good fiction?  At some level this is certainly a useless question, as ultimately it boils down to a matter of taste.  There are a great number of people who seem to feel, for instance, that Moby Dick is a great piece of art.  I would like to think that they are basing that […]

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Fortunately, it’s taken me this long to get around to writing about Part II of Connolly’s Enemies of Promise.  Fortunately, because in the meantime I’ve also read his novel Shade Those Laurels.  As you may recall, Part I of Enemies is a sort of a survey or dissection of literary style.  Part II is an […]

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I’ve just read a very peculiar novel, The Waves, by Virginia Woolf.  As far as I know, all of her novels are peculiar; there are some I have not yet read.  Woolf pushes narrative technique in all kinds of interesting directions.  She writes sort of the way Impressionists paint.  Bits of scenery, a half-seen face, […]

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