25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | Yesterday, 11:30am

Julie Schumacher: IMG Dear Professor Fitger



Saint Paul, August 2014 Dear Professor Fitger, I've been asked to say a few words about you for Powells.com. Having dreamed you up with a ball-point... Continue »
  1. $16.07 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Dear Committee Members

    Julie Schumacher 9780385538138

spacer

This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.


Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose

by

A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Those who view the Manifesto as an attack on the authors are missing the point. Whether one agrees with Myers about the quality of Proulx, McCarthy, et al, what matters most is the expression of dissenting opinion. The attack on Myers by mainstream critics and authors as detailed in the Epilogue is a perfect example of the righteousness of Myers's crusade....All great debates require a work of dissent, and Myers has done readers a favor by providing them with one so bold and entertaining." Chris Bolton, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Available for the first time, the full-length, unexpurgated version of the essay that incited one of the most passionate literary controversies ever in American letters...

When the Atlantic Monthly first published an excerpted version of B. R. Myers's polemic — in which he attacked literary giants such as Don DeLillo, Annie Proulx, and Cormac McCarthy, quoting their work extensively to accuse them of mindless pretension — it caused a world-wide sensation.

But Myers's expanded version of the essay does more than just attack sanctified literary heavyweights. It also:

  • Examines the literary hierarchy that perpetuates the status quo by looking at the reviews that the novelists in question received. It also considers the literary award system. "Rick Moody received an O. Henry Award in 1997," Myers observes, "whereupon he was made an O. Henry juror himself. And so it goes."
  • Showcases Myers's biting sense of wit, as in the new section, "Ten Rules for 'Serious' Writers," and his discussion of the sex scenes in the bestselling books of David Guterson ("If Jackie Collins had written that," Myers says after one example, "reviewers would have had a field day.")
  • Champions clear writing and storytelling in a wide range of writers, from "pop" novelists such as Stephen King to more "serious" literary heavyweights such as Somerset Maugham. Myers also considers the classics such as Balzac and Henry James, and recommends numerous other undeservedly obscure authors.
  • Includes an all-new section in which Myers not only considers the controversy that followed the Atlantic essay, but responds to several of his most prominent critics.
Published on the one-year anniversary of the original Atlantic Monthly essay, the new, expanded A Reader's Manifesto contains B. R. Myers's fight on behalf of the American reader, arguing against pretension in so-called "literary" fiction, naming names and brilliantly exposing the literary status quo.

Review:

"[E]ntertaining...at last someone has dared to say, with energy and insight...that at least some of our literary emperors are, if not without clothes, wearing some awfully gaudy attire..." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Myers's argument is an entertaining and passionate lament....In years to come, literary historians may look back on this manifesto and realise this was the moment at which...someone dared to say out loud that the emperor has no clothes." Robert McCrum, The Guardian (U.K.)

Review:

"Useful mischief...he's got the big stuff right." Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

Review:

"Everybody [in the literary community] seems to relish this sort of bomb-throwing....Myers' 'manifesto' (it's really more of a cranky lament) is a gauntlet thrown at the feet of literary critics everywhere....Myers has issued the kind of challenge that invites the literati to indulge in two of their favorite sports. The first is a hunched-shouldered grousing about the worthless dilettantes passing themselves off as writers these days; the second is a sort of apotheosis of indignation, in which critics...fend off the outrageous assault on their heroes and expound on the sublime, monumental, exultant and yet also intimate and consoling nature of the supreme pinnacles of the literary art....[The essay] skitters back and forth between a genuine grievance and the kind of pointless squabbling into which all 'who is a Great Writer' conversations ultimately devolve....[T]he section...that I most savored [was] Myers' scornful dismissal of what he calls 'the sentence cult' — that is, critics who base their admiration for an author on the surpassing beauty of his or her sentences. Myers goes to great lengths to prove that such praises...are incorrect." Laura Miller, Salon.com

Review:

"Brilliantly written." The Times of London

Review:

"A welcome contrarian takes on the state of contemporary American literary prose." The Wall Street Journal

Synopsis:

Now available in book-length form for the first time, the manifesto that caused a sensation when it first appeared as an excerpt in the Atlantic Monthly includes a new essay addressing the storm of controversy elicited by its initial publication. In this updated version, Myers goes beyond merely taking on such literary giants as Don DeLillo, E. Annie Proulx, and Cormac McCarthy, examining the literary hierarchy that perpetuates the status quo, questioning literary review and the awarding of literary prizes, and championing clear writing, finding it in a wide range of writers, from "pop" novelists such as Stephen King to more "serious" literary heavyweights such as W. Somerset Maugham. Ending on a humorous note, Myers offers his "Ten Rules for 'Serious' Writers."

Synopsis:

Offers an indictment of contemporary literary writing, providing assessments of such writers as Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, and Annie Proulx.

About the Author

B.R. Myers was born in the U.S. but raised in Bermuda, South Africa, and Germany. He teaches North Korean studies in South Korea.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780971865907
Subtitle:
An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose
Publisher:
Melville House
Author:
Myers, Brian R.
Author:
Meyers, B. R.
Author:
Myers, B. R.
Location:
Hoboken, N.J.
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
History and criticism
Subject:
American prose literature
Subject:
General Literary Criticism & Collections
Subject:
American
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
01-4104
Publication Date:
September 2002
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
6.72 x 5 x .53 in .35 lb

Related Subjects

Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 160 pages Not Avail - English 9780971865907 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Those who view the Manifesto as an attack on the authors are missing the point. Whether one agrees with Myers about the quality of Proulx, McCarthy, et al, what matters most is the expression of dissenting opinion. The attack on Myers by mainstream critics and authors as detailed in the Epilogue is a perfect example of the righteousness of Myers's crusade....All great debates require a work of dissent, and Myers has done readers a favor by providing them with one so bold and entertaining." (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "[E]ntertaining...at last someone has dared to say, with energy and insight...that at least some of our literary emperors are, if not without clothes, wearing some awfully gaudy attire..."
"Review" by , "Myers's argument is an entertaining and passionate lament....In years to come, literary historians may look back on this manifesto and realise this was the moment at which...someone dared to say out loud that the emperor has no clothes."
"Review" by , "Useful mischief...he's got the big stuff right."
"Review" by , "Everybody [in the literary community] seems to relish this sort of bomb-throwing....Myers' 'manifesto' (it's really more of a cranky lament) is a gauntlet thrown at the feet of literary critics everywhere....Myers has issued the kind of challenge that invites the literati to indulge in two of their favorite sports. The first is a hunched-shouldered grousing about the worthless dilettantes passing themselves off as writers these days; the second is a sort of apotheosis of indignation, in which critics...fend off the outrageous assault on their heroes and expound on the sublime, monumental, exultant and yet also intimate and consoling nature of the supreme pinnacles of the literary art....[The essay] skitters back and forth between a genuine grievance and the kind of pointless squabbling into which all 'who is a Great Writer' conversations ultimately devolve....[T]he section...that I most savored [was] Myers' scornful dismissal of what he calls 'the sentence cult' — that is, critics who base their admiration for an author on the surpassing beauty of his or her sentences. Myers goes to great lengths to prove that such praises...are incorrect."
"Review" by , "Brilliantly written."
"Review" by , "A welcome contrarian takes on the state of contemporary American literary prose."
"Synopsis" by , Now available in book-length form for the first time, the manifesto that caused a sensation when it first appeared as an excerpt in the Atlantic Monthly includes a new essay addressing the storm of controversy elicited by its initial publication. In this updated version, Myers goes beyond merely taking on such literary giants as Don DeLillo, E. Annie Proulx, and Cormac McCarthy, examining the literary hierarchy that perpetuates the status quo, questioning literary review and the awarding of literary prizes, and championing clear writing, finding it in a wide range of writers, from "pop" novelists such as Stephen King to more "serious" literary heavyweights such as W. Somerset Maugham. Ending on a humorous note, Myers offers his "Ten Rules for 'Serious' Writers."
"Synopsis" by , Offers an indictment of contemporary literary writing, providing assessments of such writers as Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, and Annie Proulx.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.