Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Five top lectures on writing

Gish Jen, author of Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Interdependent Self, is the author of four novels, including Typical American, Mona in the Promised Land, and World and Town.

For The Daily Beast she named her favorite lectures on writing, including:
Lectures on Literature
by Vladimir Nabokov

Take, for example, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lectures on Literature. Insisting that “Style and structure are the essence of a book; great ideas are hogwash,” he flies with serene ecstasy in the face of academic dogma, caressing instead the details of a work: the routes of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom through Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses, the wax on the dancing slippers of the eponymous heroine in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. “There is no such thing as real life for an author of genius,” he maintains, there is only “the pleasurable shock of artistic truth.” As for whether we agree, exactly, never mind. The lectures and their argument are themselves such a pleasurable shock, we can only be charmed and enlightened.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue