The BURIED Book Club discussion

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WHY?????

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message 1: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 985 comments Here feel free to speculate and hypothEsize and argumentEsize about BOOKS forgotten and BURIED and the therewith accompanying WHY's and WHEREFORE's and WHOSEtoBlame. That kind of thing. What causes? Author fault? Reader FAUlt? Bad pubLISHer? Poor eduCATional systems and policies? HUman ALLZU huMaNe?


message 2: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) I blame the all too popular Emperor's New Clothes argument for most of it.


message 3: by Nick (new)

Nick Craske (nick_craske) | 6 comments WHHhhhhhYYYYYyyyyy is B.S. Johnson's 1963 debut novel Travelling People out of print?! Picador's 2004 Omnibus combined three excellent novels, Trawl, Albert Angelo and House Mother Normal but whhhYyyyy no TP?


message 4: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 209 comments B.S. disowned Travelling People and refused reprints. Shame as it is a cheeky homage to Sterne and rompers like Smollett and Fielding.


message 5: by Nick (last edited Mar 10, 2013 02:59PM) (new)

Nick Craske (nick_craske) | 6 comments MJ wrote: "B.S. disowned Travelling People and refused reprints. Shame as it is a cheeky homage to Sterne and rompers like Smollett and Fielding."

Book-lust-tripled. Me wants it, precioussss...


message 6: by Stephen M (last edited Mar 12, 2013 12:02PM) (new)

Stephen M | 5 comments I think that books are strange in that they often require something beforehand (not necessarily intelligence or experience but a certain priming) in order to enjoy it at all. I think this is true about Moby Dick, especially, because that book has so many strange elements to it: odd punctuation, a casual comfort with homosexuality, and long digressions about literature and literary motifs. These are all things that I'm familiar with, but reading it in the 1850's, I could certainly understand people thinking "what in the hell is this?"


message 7: by Geoff (new)

Geoff | 25 comments Books are BURIED because that is the nature of TIME, EARTH, WINDS, WATERS, and SEDIMENT. Thus the vegetables with the longest, strongest, best seeking, most in-need ROOTS- those most willing to dig through foul layers of EARTH and DECAY OF YEARS to find and tap SUSTENANCE are more richly and strangely rewarded, and their bodies and their interiors grow in accordance, and rich, strange, strong human-vegetables then are seen to be growing tall among the common garden varietals and crabgrass-kinds. It has always been so; it will always be so.


message 8: by Stephen M (new)

Stephen M | 5 comments Geoff wrote: "Books are BURIED because that is the nature of TIME, EARTH, WINDS, WATERS, and SEDIMENT. Thus the vegetables with the longest, strongest, best seeking, most in-need ROOTS- those most willing to di..."

Or that. . . yessum, indeed.


message 9: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) Geoff wrote: "Books are BURIED because that is the nature of TIME, EARTH, WINDS, WATERS, and SEDIMENT. Thus the vegetables with the longest, strongest, best seeking, most in-need ROOTS- those most willing to di..."

Preach it. Especially if radiation's involved.


message 10: by Jonfaith (new)

Jonfaith | 12 comments Such a sublime thread. The BBC inspires.


message 11: by Nate D (new)

Nate D (rockhyrax) | 354 comments I think there's simply the matter of so much material produced each year, only a fraction of which can be disseminated and digested far enough to reach a point of self-maintaince in the culture in subsequent years. As far as the sheer volume goes, think of all the films released every year (another area of my unearthing practices) and consider that those require massive film crews whereas any lone (hopefully brilliant) crank can write a book. And I recognize that my loves are eccentric enough that my favorites are rarely the books that publishers are most-motivated to maintain. So I don't find this surprising at all. And actually it's exciting: it means there's so so much more to find.


message 12: by Rand (new)

Rand (iterate) | 99 comments Yes Nate, there is ever-more to find but the modes of acquisition which one chooses are important to consider as current economic movements threaten to sink more authors.


message 13: by Nate D (last edited Apr 09, 2013 04:27AM) (new)

Nate D (rockhyrax) | 354 comments I'm sure there are some valid points in there -- like, there's no reason that authors don't get better royalties on nearly-overhead-free ebook sales -- but it's also really funny to see the highly successful Scott Turow bemoaning the state of affairs.


message 14: by Jimmy (last edited Jul 05, 2013 06:19AM) (new)

Jimmy (jimmylorunning) | 93 comments In my review of Emmanuel Bove's Winter Journal, I pondered this subject a little... I'll quote from my review below (please add your thoughts):

There is a very long (over 50 pages) afterword by Keith Botsford. It concerns itself with why Bove has been so ignored, his biography, and what his place in literature is. I found some of his arguments very interesting and others less so.
even Bove's most popular book, Mes amis, met with critical silence: "Not the shadow of a thesis or an idea. A volume without ideas to agree with or argue over, critics find difficult; they don't know how to deal with it, what to write about it" What he means is, the critic can't shine talking about Bove. ... Bove just represents the world: a man without theories.
This reminds me of this quote by Robert Musil, in The Man Without Qualities:
Hardly anyone still reads nowadays. People make use of the writer only in order to work off their own excess energy on him in a perverse manner, in the form of agreement or disagreement.
It's so true, and true only because criticism rarely does its job. Instead, it latches onto ideas and trends that it wants to espouse. What reading this essay made me realize was that Bove is completely impervious to externals... his writing is apolitical, his life was devoid of fanfare or drama, or if there was, he never talked about it, he was polite to everyone. That can't bode well for one's writing career!


message 15: by Nate D (last edited Jul 05, 2013 07:07AM) (new)

Nate D (rockhyrax) | 354 comments Interesting, somewhat depressing, probably spot-on (as far as some cases go).


message 16: by Jimmy (last edited Jul 05, 2013 11:39AM) (new)

Jimmy (jimmylorunning) | 93 comments More fuel for the fire...

I'm reading Sir Thomas Browne's works now, and I don't know if he qualifies as a buried writer (307 ratings across all his works, certainly more buried than many of his contemporaries), but the introduction written by Claire Preston makes some interesting and relevant points as to "WHY?":
Unless his tolerant remarks in Religio Medici be construed as clearly Anglican, he left no political opinions.

The tenor of the times produced so much overtly polemical writing that we have come almost to expect contention as a feature of mid-seventeenth cenury literature. But as much historical research continues to remind us, the upheavals of the Civil War and the antecedent period dit not, perhaps, engulf the whole nation so irresistibly as we are inclined to believe. It was quite possible for a politically sensitive intellectual to have opinions and sympathies in the conflict which did not necessarily inform or even surface in his work.

[...]

Browne's reputation in English letters has always been high without being familiar. He is the sort of writer who, in the face of competition from Shakespeare, Jonson, Bacon, Burton, and Jacobean and Caroline poets in the first half of the century, and from Hobbes, Marvell, and above all Milton in the second half, is more known about than known. This is unfortunate, but quite reasonable. For one thing his oeuvre is large, and with few exceptions comprehends works too long or too concentrated to be digested readily or comfortably. Secondly, like Burton, Browne is among the most recondite of writers: when not proposing himself as his subject (a topic quite remote enough), his enthusiasms are specialist, learned, antiquarian, obscure. His style, often meditative in the most striking ways, is nevertheless labyrinthine and baroque: the texture of his thought is studded with allusion, reference, understatement, and quotation in ancient languages. In short, Browne is uncompromising and difficult, even to the ear tempered by mid-seventeenth century rhythms; it requires a number of readings to make sense of much he says; and even then, the range of reference can seem fearsome and prohibitive.



message 17: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook When this group started Colman Dowell was here. Now he's gone or my eyes are--. I was curious as he wrote the music for an OB adaptation in the 50s of a CVV novel.


message 18: by Garima (new)

Garima | 78 comments Sketchbook wrote: "When this group started Colman Dowell was here. Now he's gone or my eyes are--. I was curious as he wrote the music for an OB adaptation in the 50s of a CVV novel."

Here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...


message 19: by Jimmy (last edited Jul 07, 2013 10:28AM) (new)

Jimmy (jimmylorunning) | 93 comments More reasons why, this time from Christine Brooke-Rose, from her book Life, End of:

'Time is more severe than the public, however, with books. The public at least pounces on the best-sellers, even if to forget them almost as fast. [. . .] say 500 novels a week are published (far more today no doubt) five get reviewed, one everywhere, two here and there, and two very little; those five become 260 at the end of the year, not necessarily the same five; of which five get remembered in Christmas lists. That makes fifty after ten years, of which five get remembered for the decade. And fifteen over three decades, quickly reduced to five or less for literary histories. But by now out of thousands published. So it's a lottery. Fun to start with, since the young tend to seek fun. Sometimes one of these 7,800,000 or so gets rediscovered and revived, not necessarily among the most successful at the time. Frequently the best are ignored and the next best with the worst highly praised. But success in a lifetime doesn't necessarily mean bad, nor does failure automatically mean good though ignored. It's amazing how little this matters now, it's worked out jocularly at the time of a first novel over forty years past, to rinse all false ambitions away. And vaguely confirmed by mild and indifferent observation since, watching authors prancing through press and parties wrapped in their own blurbs. The lottery accepted, by one who never wins lotteries. Accepted also is the strong risk that grammatical experiment is automatically ignored or unseen, though begun long ago and explored with very different characters and plots. The most plotless being this text, which is bound to have a zappy ending.'



message 20: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 985 comments Translated books have a curious status in The BURIED Book Club. We confess that we are English oriented. Books written in not-English languages tend toward BURIAL. Declan's review of The Three Percent Problem just came to my attention and appears to be addressing this question of Why such a small portion of the book market in ole USofA (Anglo countries generally?) consists of the Translated.


message 21: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 985 comments And well but so we are fortunate when this BURIED stuff still survives in second-hand shops, antiquariats, and LIBRARYs. But some stuff gets SEVERELY BURIEd ::

The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure, new from Melville House. A Dirda review ::
http://www.washingtonpost.com/enterta...

As Molder says, I want to believe.


message 22: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 985 comments And well but so we are fortunate when this BURIED stuff still survives in second-hand shops, antiquariats, and LIBRARYs. But some stuff gets SEVERELY BURIEd ::

The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure, new from Melville House. A Dirda review ::
http://www.washingtonpost.com/enterta...

As Molder says, I want to believe.


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