A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose (2020)

A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose B.R. Myers A Reader s Manifesto An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose 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 firs
  • Title: A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose
  • Author: B.R. Myers
  • ISBN: 9780971865907
  • Page: 318
  • Format: Paperback
A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose B.R. Myers 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 polemic in which he attacked literary giants such as Don Delillo, Annie Proulx, and Cormac McCarthy, quoting their work extAvailable 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 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 A welcome contrarian takes on the state of contemporary American literary prose, said a Wall Street Journal review Useful mischief, said Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post Brilliantly written, declared The Times of London.But Myers expanded version of the essay does 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 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 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 original Atlantic Monthly essay, the new, expanded A READER S MANIFESTO continues B.R Myers fight on behalf of the American reader, arguing against pretension in so called literary fiction, naming names and brilliantly exposing the literary status quo.
A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose B.R. Myers

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One thought on “A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose

  1. Ian "Marvin" Graye

    My rant about this book and its approach is based on the Atlantic article.The Attack on PretentiousnessThe article was presented as an attack on the growing pretentiousness of American literary prose.Many of us would agree with the need for such an attack.But every attack must come from a position of its own, and sometimes you have to work out whether you agree with the origin of the attack, before you agree with the attack itself.So, from what point of view is BRM attacking his victims The Vict [...]

  2. Christy

    Why is it okay for fans of so called Serious Literature to make fun of genre writers without thinking twice, but when Myers turns the tables and skewers a few respectable modern authors people freak out and call him an idiot If you have a problem with someone telling you they think Stephen King is better at the craft of storytelling than Cormac McCarthy, and you think that person should just shut his mouth because he clearly didn t couldn t understand McCarthy as well as you did, you re being ki [...]

  3. Paul Bryant

    A lolcat is an image combining a photograph of a cat usually in a zany situation with text intended to contribute humour The text is often idiosyncratic and grammatically incorrect, and its use in this way is known as lolspeak or kitty pidgin Lolcat is a compound word of the acronymic abbreviation LOL and the word cat.Lolcats are commonly designed for photo sharing imageboards and other Internet forums including Imagine then if you will a lolcat with a rabid grin on its face, a collar round its [...]

  4. A.J.

    I ve been fascinated for a long time by the apparent war between so called mainstream and literary fiction What this little work does is add ammunition to a thought I ve long suspected might be true literary fiction as opposed to genre fiction anything that isn t painful to read is pretty much the evolution of a high school popularity contest Instead of prissy prom queens that wear too much mascara, we ve got the literatti, a group of college educated elitists who sit around at coffee bars prete [...]

  5. Algernon

    Even if you disagree with Myers s thesis, that the literary establishment is puffing up the reputation of bad books and thus degrading the popularity of reading and even if you disagree with his criticisms of the writers he singles out grant him that his thesis is clear, heartfelt, and supported with plenty of examples both positive and negative This is a book about prose, and addresses the question of what really is good prose, and what isn t In the course of this, he is suggesting that perhaps [...]

  6. Jeremy

    While I didn t agree with everything Myers said I m also, to be fair, a big Cormac Mccarthy fan The majority of his grievances and criticisms against the writing of people like Annie Proulx, Paul Auster, David Guterson and some of Don Delillo struck me as dead on In fact, I think the case against pompous, self important literary fiction is even stronger than the one he makes Not only does it produce bad, self important books which too many authors strive to imitate, but it also cheapens our lang [...]

  7. Lobstergirl

    Scathing and delightful, but apparently it punctured few egos, as its targets pretentious novelists and the critics who love them were deaf to Myers complaints Myers should issue a new version every five years, critiquing five new novelists.At the risk of falling into the cult of the sentence that he decries, here s one of my favorite of Myers The further we get from our cowboy past the loonier becomes the hippophilia we attribute to it from a critique of All the Pretty Horses.

  8. Mollymillions

    Nothing short of amazing I ve been cringing at Paul Auster and Annie Prolux for years now, unble to finish their works and feeling guilty that I couldn t appreciate what was being touted as THE best prose of our era To me it seemed, well boring This little manifesto provides a clear, well argued call for readers to trust their own judgement as to what constitutes Serious Literature, or at very least, to demand a good explaination as to why a book should be considered as such Highly reccomended.

  9. Donna

    There are brain laughs and there are belly laughs This was brain and belly laughs not just knowing little chuckles swallowed quickly lest expert boredom be endangered by a smile, but the full out cleansing laughs that come from a standpoint of oh for fuck s sake on its way to the heart of nonsense.P.S Wish I had read this when it was first printed in the Atlantic I would have felt like less of a doofus and not given up on fiction for almost 10 years.

  10. Todd

    This book dragged me through several emotions First, I was a bit angry that Myers attacked several works of authors whom I admire e.g Cormac McCarthy Second, Myers made some valid points which I didn t want to initially accept, thus denial Third, he kept from being ad hominem and focused his attacks on the writing style, use of grammar, and sentence structure of various writers This was a relief, since other critics I have read usually tend to be brash about the author because of the style, etc. [...]

  11. Richard

    Yow Caustic Thought provoking You know me I like my polemicists to be passionate what s the point of having a watered down opinion and in this small but explosive tome B.R Meyers delivers And how He gives a rousing horn toot, alerting post modern readers to the fact that in today s pretentious literary climate, now than ever, we are in desperate need of clear, concise, workmanlike prose, as it was in the days of yore Myer takes on several big name authors two of whom, Paul Auster and Cormac McC [...]

  12. Meika

    All you need to read from this book is in the article theatlantic doc 200107The article is well worth reading I thought his tone was scathing, and he attacks the work of a few critically acclaimed authors but his defense for doing so is sound His criticism extends to the publishing industry, and the literary elite who propagate literary crap.If you re looking for an excuse to skip over the critically acclaimed snoozers, this is a great set of ideas to use in your defense I don t like that he is [...]

  13. Timothy Hallinan

    AllllRIGHT FINALLY someone takes a well organized poke at the most pretentious of lit fic and the critics who enable it Michiko Kakutani, anyone He makes a compelling case that a relatively small cadre of writers, publishers, and critics have foisted upon the American reader a barrage of intentionally obscure, overwritten junk in the form of the important novel Along the way he takes passages that critics have praised from writers like DeLillo, Proulx, and McCarthy and simply critiques them, lin [...]

  14. Jason

    Although I don t come from a family of bibliophiles I have been an avid reader of both fiction and nonfiction since I got my first library card at age 6, and for the larger part of my life I focused on what I later learned was called genre fiction, particularly science fiction and fantasy It was only as a bookseller and SF fantasy bookbuyer at a now defunct bookstore in San Francisco that I learned about the distinction between genre and literary i.e Serious fiction Back in those days before I c [...]

  15. Tripp

    A few years back B.R Myers made a splash with an attack on what passed for greatness in literature and on the literary elite that sets the standard for taste In a Reader s Manifesto, he includes his original essay along with criticisms of the essay and his response In occasionally waspish but just as often exasperated tones, Myers attacks the prose style of Proulx, DeLillo, McCarthy, Auster, Moody and others This means you might, as I did, laugh at some of these sections and feel sheepish in oth [...]

  16. Christine

    The best part of this book was the end, where he wrote what the critics said about his book I whole heartedly applauded them This was the first book other than a textbook that I ve ever marked up in ink I went in hopeful during the first introduction, he went on about his love for Stephen King and I thought, woohoo He loves Stevie And the cover had this fun little blurb about the author shouting The emperor has no clothes which was sort of amusing Then in the second introduction, he explained th [...]

  17. Trin

    A nice antidote to theCormac McCarthy I read a couple weeks before Myers takes on five critically acclaimed American authors, including McCarthy, with an argument against what he sees as the growing devotion to pretension among the American literary establishment It s not just the authors who are under fire here if anything, Myers directs the bulk of his criticism toward critics themselves, who, he says, laud only the most convoluted, turgid prose stylists and continue to promote the same author [...]

  18. David

    Well, it s a level above Dale Peck s Hatchet Jobs , I ll grant him that Beyond that Well, I m not a fan of the method of criticism which dredges through an author s entireoeuvre , selectively presents the worst sentences as being typical, then invites our mockery and rejection of that author s whole body of work Since this pretty much sums up Myers s approach throughout this expanded essay, it s not an effort that I greet with unbridled enthusiasm.Sure, maybe it s useful to be reminded that it s [...]

  19. Todd

    A good indictment of crappy writing that passes for serious literature Well, actually, I don t agree with everything Myers says, but I can understand his train of thought with most of the issues and excerpts he puts forward This book may have worked better if he had just straightforwardly attacked the critics, which are a main part of his argument, and examined the cyclical nature between authors, critics, awards Or maybe he should have just written a few chapters on that subject.I also thought [...]

  20. Chelsea

    Myers has opinions Chelsea reads opinions Chelsea agrees with opinions Chelsea disagrees with opinions Chelsea totally agrees that Snow Falling on Cedars is boring Chelsea shrugs off some of her lingering guilt over having absolutely no interest in diving farther into Cormac McCarthy s backlist Chelsea continues on with her life.Fin.

  21. Thomas J. Hubschman

    THE EMPEROR S OLD CLOTHESAs the title implies, A Reader s Manifesto An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose is nothing less than a call to the ramparts, and if the epilogue is any fair indication, it raised a firestorm of animosity toward its author Boy, are you in trouble, wrote a man who enjoyed the magazine version of A Reader s Manifesto, in the July, 2001 Atlantic Monthly and he was only one of many who urged me to prepare for stern retribution, Meyers writes Any [...]

  22. Adam Ross

    This is a fantastic contrarian look at contemporary literary fiction Myers merrily dissects the greats of literary fiction Don DeLillo, Cormac MaCarthy, Paul Auster, David Guterson and Annie Proulx He takes them to task for being boring, pretentious and poor writers His chief complaint is with the prose itself he takes a close reading of some of the most famous and most highly praised passages from these authors and reveals how truly clunky their metaphors, images, impressions, and prose really [...]

  23. Raegan Butcher

    From The Appendix Ten Rules for Serious Writers Myers implies following these rules will lead to literary success.The rules are as follows 1 Be Writerly If your writing is too natural, then there is no way it is scholarly.2 Sprawl Content doesn t matter, it s all about size Critics are impressed by big books, so brevity should be dismissed.3 Equivocate If it doesn t make sense, there can always be a good excuse Truth can always be distorted as long as it makes the writer sound good For example, [...]

  24. S.W. Gordon

    Myer s manifesto is an attack on the laziness of modern literary criticism eg aversion to discussing writing style, trumping up willfully obscure language, vilifying genre fiction as mere storytelling The authors he highlights Proulx, DeLillo, McCarthy, Guterson, Aster are fodder for his arguments The avid reader of literary fiction wants to be challenged, intrigued and tested When we peel back the onion to get to the deeper levels of meaning, we expect to shed a few tears of frustration Many of [...]

  25. Jessica

    As is suggested in the subtitle, Myers uses this essay to point out how pretentiousness often passes for quality in modern American literature He uses examples from Annie Proulx, Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, Paul Auster, and David Guterson I feel like I should preface this review by saying that I have not read DeLillo or Auster, I have tried and failed to read McCarthy, and I couldn t understand what was so good about Guterson s Snow Falling on Cedars The only Proulx I ve read was The Shipping [...]

  26. Benjamin Obler

    This was an enjoyable venture into criticism It s very accessible criticism Some might call it light criticism It is blessedly devoid of Isms, and I commend it for that It s plain talk about how prose functions in the contemporary novel and what type of product this makes why it is often inferior to the novels of yore and how erroneous critics are to praise it.It s a short book Myers looks at five writers, and is clear and to the point about their stylistic tics He cites some truly stinky passag [...]

  27. Ellen

    A Reader s Manifesto An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose by B R Meyers, which originally appeared in an abbreviated form as an essay in the Atlantic Magazine, set off a storm of controversy Meyers bemoans the wordiness, mixed metaphors, and downright incoherency evident in much contemporary writing and specifically lampoons current giants such as Don DiLillo, Annie Proulx, Cormac McCarthy, Paul Auster, and David Guterson Meyers examples are often very funny I part [...]

  28. Paul Eckert

    Myers says what needs to be said about the pretentiousness of modern literary writing Also a helfpful tool if you are a writer read this to see what to avoid in your own writing Myers takes passages from revered writers such as Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, and Don DeLillo, passages that were hailed by critics as especially brilliant or moving, and deconstructs these supposedly brilliant writings and exposes how little merit they actually have Instead of blindly praising their genius, as so ma [...]

  29. Sophia Ramos

    I was very excited to read this, and while the author s manifesto itself was excellent and insightful, the addition of a rebuttal section at the end for all his haters ruined the entire experience for me As with any manifesto, you will get a certain amount of backlash, because that s what a manifesto does it invites conversation over a controversial topic That is not an invitation for the writer of this piece to bite back and borderline attack his critics in his next reprinting, which is tragica [...]

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