Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Battling Fusion and Bored with Heterosex

from Michael Gorra's review (TLS Sep 2008) of Amit Chaudhuri's Clearing A Space: Reflections on India, literature and culture:

Too often "the Eastern and Western elements in fusion have a designated static quality that they do not in their own contexts". So Chaudhuri speaks on behalf of dialectic, not fusion; on behalf of quarrel and assimilation, and not the kind of multi-culti celebration that often winds up confirming our "unexamined beliefs about identity and where we come from".

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In another essay on Rushdie--"Huge Baggy Monster", first published in the TLS in 1999--he takes up the question of the imitative fallacy, the sense that a large sprawling country requires large sprawling novels . . .

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from Gordon Bowker's review (TLS Sep 2008) of The Creator as Critic: And other writings by E. M. Forster, and The BBC Talks of E. M. Forster, 1929-1960:

. . . his interest in he evolving personality inspired by reading Walter Pater and Samuel Butler, especially The Way of All Flesh. It was Butler, he reveals, from whom he took his humanistic outlook, and who, with Jane Austen and Proust, influenced him most as a writer.

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His biographer P. N. Furbank tells how he grew bored writing about heterosexual relationships, wanting instead to explore homosexual life and feelings, which the climate of the time forbade. . . . After 1924, he confined himself to writing short "indecent" stories for private circulation, one of which, "Dr Woolacott", he considered "the best thing I've ever done and also unlike anyone else's work".

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