Programming Note

It occurs to me that neither in 2012 nor over the last few years have I read much American literature. For the first two years of college I thought I was going to be an English major in addition to Film, focusing in particular on British and Irish literature, so I did not spend an inordinate amount of time on works written by American writers. Here and there I came across an interesting/obscure writer or two, like Sara Vogan (Scenes from the Homefront, 1987) and David Bowman (Let the Dog Drive, 1992), but otherwise I spent two years reading Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell, Oscar Wilde, George Gissing, E.M. Forster, Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen and, taking up a nice portion of last summer, Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy.

In 2013 I am going to spend more time reading the writers of my own country. I suppose I have always been drawn to literature from other countries that I long to visit, but there are many American writers whose works I feel I should have read by now. With the tentative title “Adventures in American Literature,” I shall blog about each reading experience I have. Names like Erskine Caldwell, Dorothy Baker, Eudora Welty, Jean Stafford, Walker Percy, Ellen Douglas, Elaine Dundy, Truman Capote, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, Richard Yates, Speed Lamkin, Frederick Exley, Stanley Elkin, Doris Betts, Carlene Hatcher Polite, John Kennedy Toole, Lewis Nordan, Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, Gustav Hasford, Gayl Jones and Larry Brown have chances of popping up.

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4 thoughts on “Programming Note

  1. Sounds exciting to me. I’ve read a relative amount of those you mentioned, but some are completely unknown to me. So looking forward to discovering some new authors through your posts.

    • The first post in that series is indeed on its way. Interestingly, the book in question is an essay collection, a form I don’t read nearly as often as fiction. I guess we’ll see how my book-critiquing skills turn out (and whether my abandonment of an English major was justified).

  2. Film ended up as the main major with art history as a minor because I encountered so many wonderful art history professors that I ended up going farther beyond the intro class than I ever expected. The unfortunate thing about my college is that there’s no separation for film production and film studies, so for a person considering film criticism as a career, it’s kind of a crap shoot as to whether suffering through the film production classes is worth it in order to be a film major. (Film production has never and will never be my strong suit. I can always conceptualize what I want to do and how it should theoretically look… but I found that I’m not much for directing people and I have pretty shabby editing skills.)

    Maybe if I’d encountered some amazing English professor who made every class insightful, or if I’d wanted to wander down the creating writing route – Peter Carey is supposedly part of my college’s MFA department for creative writing, so maybe I would have been impressed by him – well, I don’t even know where I’m going with that line of thinking. I had almost forgotten what a nightmare the one college creative writing class I took was: a long, ridiculous tale of a guy (president of the college’s fine, upstanding Yu-Gi-Oh/Magic:The Gathering card-collecting club, no less) who glommed on to me, kept asking me out to the same sushi bar – fruitless efforts, I must say – then wrote a story that I vaguely suspected was about me. Fun times.

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