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Edward Dahlberg
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message 1: by Garima (new)

Garima | 78 comments I came across Edward Dahlberg while searching/investigating about Alexander Theroux and later Gilbert Sorrentino who had great admiration for Dahlberg. An excerpt from his interview:

Dahlberg is a writer whose work cannot be tamed or reduced or assimilated. He is a subversive and destructive master of prose, who is, at his best, so good that he takes your breath away. He is also zany, goofy, loopy, misogynistic, deeply prejudiced, bitter, nasty, paranoid and absolutely unfair. He has no politics that any politician could possibly find useful, and he is a great agent of the truth that only art can purvey. He is a great American writer, astonishingly original, a virtuoso without peers, and probably much too good for us. That he is hardly known and hardly read, that he is virtually ignored by academics, that he is still rather regularly mocked and patronized by literary scum, all testifies to our unerring vulgarity as a people--our vulgarity and stupidity. The circumstances of his life turned him into a desolate, half-crazed misanthrope, but as an artist he is the very definition of integrity and purity. Ten or fifteen pages of Because I Was Flesh or Can These Bones Live is a terrific antidote to the utterly fake prose that one is liable to bump into in the pages of The New Yorker, say, that "well-written" prose of the nightmare market. He will not play ball.

So he deserves some attention, YES!


message 3: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 985 comments I've read & reviewed two Dahlbergs, Can These Bones Live and The Sorrows of Priapus, but for the later I read what is indeed only the first half because I found a pretty edition, but you'll want both halves found as :: The Sorrows of Priapus: Consisting of the Sorrows of Priapus and the Carnal Myth. Next Dahlberg for me will be his AutoBio :: Because I Was Flesh.

Should also be mentioned that Sorrentino is a huge fan, reviewing his books in Something Said.

Garima led me to a letter to the editor, from back in 1967, Dahlberg wrote in which he eviscerates an incompetent hack reviewer who had attempted to review the Edward Dahlberg Reader and Epitaphs of our Times: The Letters of Edward Dahlberg :: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archi... It is an item recommended for readers of Theroux.


message 4: by Garima (new)

Garima | 78 comments A Passage I particularly liked:

He seems to surmise that I grieve all day long because the public neglects me. We have a wizened audience for truthful books. A dead author is valuable merchandise, but a live one generally is put in our cold storage of attica. Besides, is he unfamiliar with the lamentations in the epistles of Baudelaire? He received scanty praise in the press and beseeched Saint-Beuve to rescue Les Fleurs du Mal, but this moldy critic thought it a hazard to be his advocate. Seventeen copies of Stendhal’s L’Amour were sold, and ten of Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarasthustra. To go back to the ancients, Aeschylus went into voluntary exile because an award he felt he had earned was given to a puny versifier.


message 5: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 985 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "in which he eviscerates an incompetent hack reviewer"

I think it's funny that I called Robert M. Adams a "hack" because apparently he was a founding editor of the Norton Anthology thingie among other kinds of book writing. Here's his NYRB contributor's page :: http://www.nybooks.com/contributors/r... I can't identify whether goodreads has adequately author-separated the various folks with that name.

Apparently I might not know what a "hack" is. Nice word, though. And hack or no, lovelove that Dahlberg letter.


message 6: by Rand (new)

Rand (iterate) | 99 comments In New Directions 15, Dahlberg has a poem called Cipango's Hinder Door. It's taken from a longer work of the same name. Here's an excerpt:
A hemisphere had slept like unknown John in the crypt at Ephesus, the cartographer's honey but civet to the bowels. It was Isabella's cosmography beyond Ptolemy's ken, Cipango's hinder door; its plenteous fields were covered with the Indian yam, the vestal squill, a nupital dessert in the pompion's mouth.
I did not care for the excerpt, but the Carnal Myth is pretty good (will review that one later this week).

Note that in the contributors' notes that Dahlberg is listed as being called by Sir Herbert Read as being "perhaps the greatest prose writer of our time".


message 7: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 985 comments So but and Garima, a word of thanks for bringing some flesh back to the bones of Dahlberg about whom I am learning that he was a giant in the world of american letters, more than I'd imagined for one so well decomposed ; totally unrighteously BURIED. I won't claim to understand him still but the list of his admirers -- and by admirers I mean the kind of high-falutin' crazies who think that he's Shakespeare -- keeps growing :: Theroux, Sorrentino, Katz, O'Brien. Like we shouldn't have been doing without him all these years. Along with CBR and a few others, definitely one of the most IMPORTant authors unEARTH'd by this here Club/Spade right here. Merci.


message 8: by Garima (new)

Garima | 78 comments A word of thanks to you too for creating this club, Nathan else I wouldn’t have bothered to unearth Dahlberg and many others but now I carry the spade almost everyday with me ;)


message 9: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 985 comments "Revisiting Edward Dahlberg’s Because I Was Flesh" in Context from Dalkey Archive :: http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/revisiti...


message 10: by Eric (new)

Eric | 57 comments From what I've seen of it, I think I'd much rather read his criticism. Recently read The Olive Of Minerva: Or, The Comedy Of A Cuckold and didn't find it at all remarkable.


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