Lawson gets it wrong

Mark Lawson, TV critic and commentator on all things culture for both the BBC and the Guardian recently wrote a piece for the latter (published in the Saturday Review, Feb 6th) which anoints Philp Roth, the “greatest” american novelist alive “by default”. Indeed, Lawson says JD Salinger’s death on Jan 27th, following that of Bellow, […]

Blogs, Ceasefire Bites, Politics - Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 3:22 - 0 Comments

Share

Mark Lawson, TV critic and commentator on all things culture for both the BBC and the Guardian recently wrote a piece for the latter (published in the Saturday Review, Feb 6th) which anoints Philp Roth, the “greatest” american novelist alive “by default”.

Indeed, Lawson says JD Salinger’s death on Jan 27th, following that of Bellow, Updike, Mailer and Vonnegut in the past 4 years has cleared the path for Roth. The idea of a “greatest” novelist is contentious in itself but Lawson’s arguments seem, at best, to confuse all sorts of cultural yardsticks: relevance, import, critical esteem, popularity etc etc

In any case, a serious omission from the pantheon of the still-living is worth pointing out: Gore Vidal (85 and still very much in the game) is not treated as a serious title contender. Strange considering that on most counts and on most fronts, whether be it sales or scope or scale or span or depth or ambition, he would be a very credible candidate indeed.

Share

Leave a Reply

Comment

 

More Ideas

More In Politics

More In Features

More In Profiles

More In Arts & Culture