After all, Shakespeare retailed royalist propaganda; Ezra Pound was an anti-Semitic idiot. And, for that matter, George Bernard Shaw wrote about the evils of vivisection and Richard Wright wrote about the evils of the Jim Crow south. They weren’t beyond or outside their times; they were smack in the middle of them. And if you’re a writer, your time and place will shape you too. What’s so scary about that? Your parents, or someone, taught you the language you’re using, and once you’ve begun in such a derivative manner, it seems silly to be embarrassed to go on with it. You can spend your existence constantly looking over your own shoulder for fear of contagion. Or you could instead assume that you are still capable of listening, learning, changing, making mistakes, and, if you’re lucky, even of making a little money like Trollope now and then. Write, in short, as if you are alive, both because the alternative is cramped and stupid, and because you don’t have any other choice.
Read more. [Images: Public domain, Reuters, AP]
January 8, 2013
RSS feed: http://theatlantic.tumblr.com/rss