Addendum to the post below

I am reading (which is not really the word, as the artifact I’m about to describe is a list of bullet points, some long, some short, some interesting, some banal) a book called Reality Hunger by David Shields. The publicity blurb for it goes like this: ‘I doubt very much that I’m the only person who’s finding it more and more difficult to want to read or write novels,’ David Shields acknowledges in Reality Hunger, then seeks to understand how the conventional literary novel has become as lifeless a form as the mass market bodice-ripper…

Anyway, being a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and a practitioner of collapsing one form into the other (a routine technique, one way or the other – there’s always some experience stitched into fiction, isn’t there? and my non-fiction is mainly of the subjective variety) I am fascinated by what Shields has to say. Also, I am a very slow reader of even a book of bullet points so I am only up to 34 (of a total 617). Spookily, presciently, with divine foresight, or some such, I was only up to 33 before the posting of the picture of Courbet’s bathers to my reality blog late last night. I climbed into bed and read no. 34 which is as follows:

As recently as the late eighteenth century, landscape paintings were commonly thought of as a species of journalism. Real art meant pictures of allegorical or biblical subjects. A landscape was a mere record or report. As such, it couldn’t be judged for its imaginative visison, its capacity to create and embody a world of complex meanings; instead, it was measured on the rank of its ‘accuracy’ its dumb fidelity to the geography on which it was based. Which was ridiculous, as Turner proved, and as nineteenth-century French painting went on to vindicate: realist painting focused on landscapes and ‘real’ people rather than royalty.

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6 Responses to Addendum to the post below

  1. OS says:

    A good blog, boy. But first of all, why do people say they climbed into bed? Anybody would think a bed is 300 foot up a crag in the Peak District!

    Now back to Shields, and his comment. In a world of ever growing censorship, where even Amazon have to be careful of what they sell in fear of a conservative backlash, the written word is becoming beaten into a mish-mash of the LCD of common thought. Where are the daring artists; the Rushdie’s or the Nabakovs of this world, who equal the great abstract painters? Beaten down by ultra-conservatism and masses who still think middle-ages.

    Bullet point 1) For Christs’ sake, as much as I despise that loonatic preacher who burnt the koran, the consequences of crossing the line these days is tantamount to a death sentence, or a life spent in hiding.

    Under those circumstances, you won’t get the daring authors who are prepared to push the boundaries of thinking, which, to me, is what literature is about. Then the publishers are caught up in it. They won’t even touch a book that dares stray from the ‘norm’.

    ChiffS, in her latest book, pushed the boundaries with her style of writing, and she was castigated by some with the same LCD thinking. That’s why I was so bloody angry at that tart who thought every book should be on the same level as Barbara Cartland. Like abstract art, isn’t the object of writing, to present one’s own thoughts, in one’s own way, to challenge the minds of others to understand? But is that asking too much of the citizens in today’s world, who eat fast-food; want everything on a throw-away plate; need to have everything explained in an in-depth way before it’s easily palatable… or acceptable?

    In my opinion, apart from popular non-fiction – of which you excelled with WO and ACD – the written word should be challenging and free from censorship, no matter how unpleasant the subject. But then the word ‘responsible’ crops up. Even the written word and art should now be ‘responsible’ according to the masses who are brainwashed to the LCD.

    I could write a book tomorrow that would have the masses foaming at the mouth, but I daren’t. Why? If I was a hermit living in a cave, I would do, but I have family and friends who would be caught up in the furore. So, where’s the last bastion of freedom: the written word? Stifled by those who cannot think for themselves.

    The twats!

  2. Stephen Foster says:

    Climbing into bed is a mild verbal metaphor innit, suggestive of weary bones being dragged.

  3. OS says:

    Then why not: I dragged myself into bed, or struggled to get in bed? At least those mild metaphors would be correct. Personally, I would say: The bed looked inviting. I was knackered; worn out; sick to the back teeth of Pulis’s away selection that had seen us plunge three more places down the league. I wanted to die; to divest myself of the depression his football sent me spiraling into. Getting undressed was a futher chore to escape my sense of loss, knowing full well that had Bossie still been around, I would not be feeling as I was now. The bed is a refuge. Well, I hope so. I can’t take much more of this. I fell into bed and discovered winger’s prayer mat hidden under his pillow. At that precise moment, I knew all was lost.

    😉

  4. Stephen Foster says:

    I know you would never write such a cliche as ‘all was lost’. And I know you would never find the hiding place for my prayer mat either.

  5. OS says:

    I did write that cliche. And your prayer mat is hidden in the boot of that old banger you run about in! I was using poetic licence when I said it was under your pillow. 😉

  6. Markelt says:

    Why is OS suddenly writing in acronyms? I spent half of that original point of his wondering why he was going on about liquid crystal displays. 🙂

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