Saturday, July 23, 2005

So long as they're good

The Paris Review was founded in 1953 by Harold L.Humes, Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton. In the first issue, writer William Styron said this about what he hoped for the literary publication:

"The Paris Review hopes to emphasize creative work—fiction and poetry—not to the exclusion of criticism, but with the aim in mind of merely removing criticism from the dominating place it holds in most literary magazines and putting it pretty much where it belongs, i.e., somewhere near the back of the book. I think The Paris Review should welcome these people into its pages: the good writers and good poets, the non-drumbeaters and non-axe-grinders. So long as they're good."

So, a celebration of great writing, not a pissing contest to point out the bad. I've always liked this approach. And if William Styron could've predicted The Paris Review of today, he might've added the line: "A bookstore of sorts where the great writers of past and present meet, and where the online masses see, read and hear their every word."

Thanks to tastho, I've been reading and listening to The Paris Review online. Literary-minded mags tend be illiterate when it comes to the Web. The New Yorker is a great example. Until recently, their site was a flat page that showed the cover and pointed you to subscribe. Even today, a basic search box does not exist on The New Yorker site.

Here are some highlights of The Paris Review site:
  • Audio clips of great writers including many with Hunter S. Thompson. Listen to Gonzo's greatest on the topics of politics in the pages of Rolling Stone and the origin of Fear and Loathing.
  • For those coming to this blog and always being disappointed with the lack of Jack Kerouac, do a search for Lowell's now favorite son.

I could go on and on, but then I'd be keeping you from great writing. I'll leave you with the words of Jack Kerouac as now found online.
“I spent my entire youth writing slowly with revisions and endless rehashing, speculation and deleting and got so I was writing one sentence a day and the sentence had no FEELING. Goddamn it, FEELING is what I like in art, not CRAFTINESS and the hiding of feelings."


At 8:25 PM, Blogger jsbankston said...

And God love him he had his final attack while sitting at home watching "The Galloping Gourmet"!

And speaking of Beats, am I the only one who's seen recent pictures of William Rehnquist with his cap and cane and thought he looked like Wm. S. Burroughs?


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