The Writer’s Job by Tim Parks | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books -
The Writer’s Job by Tim Parks | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
"Since when did being a writer become a career choice, with appropriate degree courses and pecking orders? Does this state of affairs make any difference to what gets written?" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"At school we were taught two opposing visions of the writer as artist. He might be a skilled craftsman bringing his talent to the service of the community, which rewarded him with recognition and possibly money. This, they told us, was the classical position, as might be found in the Greece of Sophocles, or Virgil’s Rome, or again in Pope’s Augustan Britain. Alternatively the writer might make his own life narrative into art, indifferent to the strictures and censure of society but admired by it precisely because of his refusal to kowtow. This was the Romantic position as it developed in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries." - Maitani
"Let’s leave aside how accurate this is historically; it’s what they taught us and it got stuck in our heads: on the one hand the writer as artisan whose personality was hardly important, a position dominant in pre-industrial times when writers were few and held subordinate roles in fairly rigid hierarchies (a Petrarch or a Chaucer); on the other the writer as a charismatic superman (the Byrons and Shelleys) whose refined sensibility and creative powers gave him the right to transgress and question his community’s rules. This vision suited a time of tension between individual and mechanized mass society. The Romantic writer helped the reader fight back against the homogenizing pressures of a modern industrialized world." - Maitani