Puttermesser Papers Review

Puttermesser Papers Review-38
The subject matter of non-fiction is fixed, chosen, unalterable.A nonfiction piece on the Civil War, say, can’t change the nature of the battles; both action and outcome remain today what they were then.

The subject matter of non-fiction is fixed, chosen, unalterable.A nonfiction piece on the Civil War, say, can’t change the nature of the battles; both action and outcome remain today what they were then.Also absent, so far, is some overriding feeling or idea, or, at the least, something larger than pipsqueak cynicism.

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CO: The difference is crucial: it’s between knowing and unknowing (rather than not knowing).

If you are going to write an essay on, say, twilight in Sweden, or on Henry James, you know that much: you have your subject already in hand.

Erudite, intellectually rigorous, and brimming with generous insight, Ozick’s work as a critic and thinker demands a kind of attention from the reader, requires the reader to think along for the promise of revelation.

The Millions: In a Paris Review chat you did in 1985, you talked about having your routine consist of rising in the late afternoon and working through the night.

I read both The New York Times and Wall Street Journal (one is the poison, the other the antidote, and make of that what you will!

), and also many magazines, both the traditional kind and the digital.

Whatever counted as “politics” was of no interest; nothing mattered but capital-L Literature and its inevitable sibling, History.

Still, writing, whether fiction or essays, is something apart from “information,” and rises out of the well of intuition: every human mind has its individuated “tone.” So when you ask about “the editing process,” and speak of “drafting/editing” — I find these reparative procedures foreign to me.

In the last half-dozen years, I’ve turned into a Snatcher: I read in desperate snatches in the interstices of the Quotidian, and dream of finding three uninterrupted quiet hours to think, moon, mentally maunder, and, above all, write. Her homely multisyllabic surname is often left unenunciated, but to certain initiates it may be whispered: Exigency.

CO: Unlike in earlier years, I nowadays consume public information voluminously.

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