*Oh all right, Allan really
Saturday, 23 January 2010
Glancing back over my previous post I notice that the last sentence appears to be saying that the best memorial a novelist can hope for is to be read by me. Modesty does rather demand that I clarify this. What I meant, of course, and as those of you who are paying proper attention would have realised, is that the finest memorial a writer can have is to be read at all once the fleeting caprices of contemporary criticism have moved on. It's a fun game to play. In a century, who will be the Dickens of his or her day? Who will be the Shakespeare* of the 21st century. It is of course impossible to tell but I like to think that in the twelfth circle of hell there is a nineteenth century equivalent of Mark Lawson screaming "Don't they realise that James Thomson's The Seasons is the defining work of the century and Mrs Gaskell is just respectableladylit?"