Reading: You're Doing It Wrong
I've been meaning for several days to post about this Times Online article by Rod Liddle, linked to by Bookslut, about highly acclaimed books that don't survive their era, and whose popularity comes to seem, only a few decades after their publication, inexplicable: The columnist Catherine Bennett chose “the entire Virago imprint”, bemoaning the fact that, for political reasons, she had felt duty-bound to plough through Rosamund Lehmann and the like when there was Philip Roth waiting there, unread. ... Meanwhile, the historian Michael Burleigh suggested all “angry” black novelists (along with Herbert Marcuse and EP Thompson). Here’s a bunch of stuff we were all told we had to read by the political and cultural climate of the day; because it would be good for us and because, way beyond this, it was our responsibility to start patronising writers from minorities because it was only the oppressive white male cultural hegemony that kept them in an ethnic- or gender-defined ghetto.