Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 16 to 23 of 23

Thread: BR Myers's "A Reader's Manifesto"

  1. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    178
    ^ eh, I love Blood Meridian personally. The prose style is a thing of beauty. It has that perfect blend of the modern sparity of Hemingway and the full expansiveness that marked the works of Melville, Faulkner, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, and others.

    I understand the criticism that the characters aren't people one can care about. But for me, and for many readers, likability isn't the only criterion for good characterization. If it were, one would have to write out the bulk of characters from literature. Anyways, we have in McCarthy's masterpiece two of the greatest literary characters ever created — those being the Kid and Judge Holden. While the Kid doesn't seem as prominent as Judge Holden or the other folk, his flawed heroism (or anti-heroism) sets off an intriguing conflict between him and the Judge. For despite his own brutality and wickedness the Kid is interesting in how his blankness and his violent nature is still a far cry from the warlike religiosity of the Judge. And Judge Holden is one of the great literary characters of all literature. Anyone who says he's a badly written character is misunderstood, in my view.

    Yes, the work is complex; yes it borders on the verbose at times. But it's such a dark and beautiful epic that's worthy of its high reputation as one of the greatest literary works of all time, on the same level as works like The Brothers Karamazov, Moby-Dick, the plays of Shakespeare, the novels of William Faulkner, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Paradise Lost.

  2. #17
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    919
    Blog Entries
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by Vota View Post
    I've read texts that are far more complex than Blood Meridian. I felt that reading the book was like smothering myself in excrement, then tearing pages out of a bible and sticking them to my ****e covered self, and then dousing myself in holy fire. That was the experience I got from reading that book. Moving beyond the actual experience, I hated the way it was written and could give two ****s out of a rats *** about any of the characters - if you can even call them that. I can't speak for his other books, and I must admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed all the movies based on his work, but that book was just painful to read, and not in a good, hard sex kind of way. More like painful finding out your child is deformed kind of way.

    I find the elitist comments pretty amusing. As if not liking the book has anything to do with intellectual capacity. It's like criticizing someone for laughing at **** art. I don't need to see the underlying reason for its being to know it's ****.
    I must say, your phantasmic imagery of your reading experience is some of the most disturbingly scatological descriptions I have read. I had no idea anyone even knew what it was like to "smother (themselves) in excrement" and stick bible pages up their "****e covered self." You truly have my sympathies. And your giving two two "****s out of a rats *** about any of the characters" is certainly no reflection on the novel. It is only a reflection of your hyperbolic personal view and extremely non-comprehensive criticism of it.

    As to "elitist comments," none have been more elitist than yours. Your calling the other posters posts' "elitist" without supporting such derogatory criticism of them puts yourself in a "superior" position without any justification for it. And if you're going to crudely and sophomorically claim any novel, particularly a brilliant novel like Blood Meridian, is ****, you do have to posit a reason and support for that reason; that's what grown-up critics do. I assume you don't want to just be one of the other kind.

  3. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    178
    ^ exactiy Pike Bishop

  4. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    188
    I've read texts that are far more complex than Blood Meridian.
    I don't know. Complex is not the same as difficult.

    Blood Meridian is a pretty easy read if you just glide over the difficult parts. But asking questions and pulling on loose strings will unearth something incredibly intricate. The book is so self-referential, so thick with allusions, so thoroughly researched - there is just so much to think about, and there is a small industry of criticism devoted to it. There are people out there who are completely obsessed.

    I can understand why someone wouldn't like Blood Meridian. McCarthy's writing can border on pastiche or self-parody. The violence (and possibly the thesis) is sickening. But in my opinion it is as complex, intelligent and rewarding a book as has been written in the last 50 years.

  5. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    178
    ^ I would reference the wonderful Harold Bloom (and he is wonderful) on the greatness of Blood Meridian

    http://www.avclub.com/article/harold...eridiani-29214

    Also recommended is his introduction to the excellent Modern Library hardcover edition (my favorite edition of the book)

  6. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    178
    Let's get stlukesguild here. His perspective will be interesting

  7. #22
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1
    All right, I've been an on and off lurker on this site for a few months now, but it was this thread that compelled me to make an account so I could add my voice. It's hard for people to take literary readers seriously when we react to a perfectly thoughtful, in-depth and intelligent criticism of literary snobbery (and how empty it sometimes is) by dismissing Myers' great article by characterizing it as something it definitely isn't: some declaration that the literary establishment is "evil" (really?) or that he is arrogant and therefore anything he says is irrelevant. Logical fallacies shouldn't come so easily to this well-read crowd.

    Myers showed the subject he was dissecting a lot of respect by carefully explaining how a lot of the books lauded as "literary" and therefore worthy of serious consideration actually commit plenty of cardinal writing mistakes: showing and not telling, or filling in with purple prose, making awkward transitions for the sole purpose of trying to be gimmicky, lingering overtly on characters that end up having no arcs to speak of whatsoever, overly-sentimental prose that borders on maudlin, and so on. These are actually the kind of mistakes that "genre" authors get scalped for by readers and editors. And some genre authors not only avoid these mistakes, but write incredibly intellectual books.

    I also don't get the pouncing on how Myers treats Cormac McCarthy here, and this is coming from someone who is a big, big, big Cormac McCarthy fan. Myers actually points out a couple meaningful things.

    It really sounds like people here either didn't read The Reader's Manifesto or else just had a huge reading comprehension fail while reading it, because Myers isn't lambasting the idea that a high standard should exist - he's saying that the way standards are drawn now do not create high quality fiction and actually leave out high quality writing on the basis of modern literary conventions that are extremely badly thought out.

    As some who has been reading the likes of Nabokov, Anthony Burgess, JD Salinger and so on for years, underlining Joyce's prose in admiration and being taught the importance of reading by both parents, I think the stubbornness to see the points that Myers makes is a big mistake. It just reinforces how hollow this "literary" threshold has become, when you resort to logical fallacies and mischaracterizing Myers' essay so that you can ignore the pertinent points that he makes.

    I like and respect what this forum does, but I see a big problem here. Feel free to flame me.
    Last edited by whitenoise; 12-06-2015 at 02:46 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #23
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    3,099
    I guess you could feel a certain amount of self-indulgence in some of McCarthy's prose but it seems to me to be part of his artistic purpose. I am sure he is a great writer but sometimes you have that gut feeling from just one or two of a writer's books. There are very few things that he has had published that I haven't read. The main feeling I get is not just a man of marvelous ability but a fellow who is probing into the human creature in quite original ways. Some of the shorter novels do this succinctly: Outer Dark, The Orchard Keeper. The modern Irish writer Barry has in The Temporary Gentleman tried his hand at McCarthy-like passages. And they don't work because they intrude on an otherwise decent story. I kept thinking "Oh no, another slo-mo Peckinpah moment that adds dash all except irritation!" Now that is what I would class as showy self-indulgence but McCarthy no.

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Similar Threads

  1. "Slow Reader"
    By misterreplicant in forum General Chat
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 01-15-2011, 06:33 AM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-11-2010, 06:59 PM
  3. "Fall of Green Statue," "#1," and "Noon"
    By TheUsersAreReal in forum Personal Poetry
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-25-2009, 02:06 PM
  4. "The reader" made into a film
    By lupe in forum General Literature
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 01-23-2009, 03:13 AM
  5. How Can I Become a "Deeper" Reader As it Were?
    By buckshot.1993 in forum General Literature
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 12-30-2008, 08:39 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •