July 12, 2007KR BlogUncategorized

Bookstores and Baudrillard

Lee Rourke did a nice job of stirring up the literati in yesterday’s Guardian with his description of Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris as an ideal example of Jean Baudrillard’s theory of the hyperreal. To get the full effect, you have to read down through the comments, where we get readers’ accounts of their drunken adventures in Paris, confessions of bad novels written, debates over the authenticity of San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore, and nostalgia for “Zippolite, early nineties,” and “Kings Cross Sidney at the end of century” as “good places for a writer to be.” (Sorry, missed it again.) Rourke returns to observe that “only internet can provide a Boho existence these days.”

Feel better about that literary blog habit now? You’re living that bohemian life…

And thanks to The Elegant Variation for this link to Julian Gough’s essay in praise of the comic novel in The Prospect, where he urges novelists to “steal from The Simpsons, not Henry James.” You’ll find a taste after the jump:

The task of the novelist is . . . not to fake a coherence that does not exist, but to capture the chaos that does. And in so doing, perhaps we shall discover that chaos and permanence are not, in fact, opposed. The novel, self-renewing, self-destroying, always the same, always new, always“ novel“ is the art of permanent chaos.

And to clarify: I don’t want everybody to write comedies. I just don’t want everybody to write minor, anxious, banal tragedies, without thinking about why they’ve chosen such a crowded mode. Why all cluster under the one tree when there’s a forest to explore? We do not live in tragic times. We do not live in comic times. We live in novel times.

Advertise in The Kenyon Review: Reach an Exceptional Market of Readers

The Kenyon Review is distributed through paid subscriptions and retail distribution (including Barnes & Noble), and is available at more than 1,000 libraries.

Our readers are smart, savvy, and have purchasing power.

Download PDF forms for specifications and reservations. (You must have Acrobat Reader in order to download PDFs.)

Need more info? Contact us and we'll get back to you quickly. Or call Jackson Saul at (740) 427-5389.

All advertising is subject to the approval of The Kenyon Review, which reserves the right to reject or cancel any ad at any time. Advertisements are accepted upon the representation that the Advertiser and its agencies are authorized to publish the contents thereof.