Thursday, September 25, 2003

Wow. Harold Bloom can be scathing. I know him by reputation, of course, but have never read more than the odd commentary of his here and there. And now Harold Bloom slams Stephen King.

I have to agree that King is not worthy of the National Book Foundation's award for distinguished contribution, though he is prolific and his work is of noteworthy dollar value. Not that I've actually read anything of his. I did like the movie The Shawshank Redemption. But I'm irked by members of the Editors' Association of Canada, by whom I don't store a lot of credit, insisting that King's On Writing is a valuable resource.

One reviewer on Amazon.com provided the following quotations:

The book-reading public: "Book buyers aren't attracted, by and large, by the literary merits of a novel; (they) want a good story to take with them on the airplane."
Plotting: "I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren't compatible...There is a huge difference between story and plot. Story is honorable and trustworthy; plot is shifty, and best kept under house arrest."
Research: "I simply made up all the stuff I didn't know."
Classes/workshops: "You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons are the ones you teach yourself."

These snippets confirm the sense of the book I'd already formed from some of its followers. King obviously thinks highly of himself and little of real authors with literary aspirations. Harold Bloom and I find intricately plotted, well researched literature to read on airplanes. Like Don DeLillo's Underworld (more on this another time).

Harold Bloom in this piece also cuts down J.K. Rowling, which I'd also like to address another time.

I am pleased to be seeing reviews that state strong and unpopular positions regarding trendy authors.
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