THE NOVEL by JAMES A. MICHENER

May 26, 2014 at 6:06 pm Leave a comment

 

Just finished reading The Novel by James A. Michener.  I’ve read many of his works, my favorite is The Source, a book dealing with the excavation of a well in the Middle East and detailing the life of the people surrounding the well from ancient times to the present.

Michener, who died in 1997 at the age of 90, published The Novel in 1991, but it was far from being his last book.  The work, divided into four parts The Writer, The Editor, The Critic and The Reader explores the publishing world of a different era.  The world of publishing has changed a great deal since Michener wrote this book and continues to rapidly change with self-publishing and social media becoming important tools for today’s authors.  In Michener’s story, the editor plays a significant role in the life of the author and the progression of his career.  Having never been published by a major house, yet, I don’t know if that portrayal holds true today.

The section of this novel which I found most interesting was that of the critic, Karl Streibert.  He finds the work of the main author in the book, Lucas Yoder, shallow and not worth reading.  The funny thing is that the work of Lucas Yoder reminds me of Michener’s.  The critic judges Yoder’s work as to accessible, fit only for the common reader, and is of the opinion that writers should write for the reading elite, intellectuals who demand the highest quality and deepest thought.

This lofty insight reminds me of a comment I once read in Poet & Writers where the poetry of Billie Collins was considered mediocre because it was too accessible.  I happen to find Collins’ poetry extremely enjoyable.  I wonder what that says about me.

A difference in values is what makes life interesting, and at times argumentative.  I strongly suggest reading James A. Michener’s The Novel.

Entry filed under: OBSERVATIONS & OPINIONS, READER'S OPPORTUNITIES, Walt Trizna, WALT'S OBSERVATIONS, WALT'S OPINIONS. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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