Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon

By Michael Chabon

In those vigorous serious and private essays, Chabon asserts his literary manifesto: “I learn for leisure, and that i write to entertain. Period.”

This choice of 16 essays champions the reason for sci-fi and westerns, superheroes and horror exhibits, gumshoes and goblins—all the style novels, comics, and pulp fiction that get dismissed whilst literary dialogue turns severe. For Chabon, the tales that supply us nice excitement are in lots of methods our truest, most sensible art—the development blocks of our shared mind's eye. even if he’s taking over Superman or Sherlock Holmes, Poe or Proust, Chabon’s emphatic project is to discover the explanations we inform one another stories, and to supply a glimpse of his personal historical past as reader and writer.

This book contains a biography of the writer.

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When it was observed to T. S. ” Though most of us inhabit degrees of failure or the anticipation of it, very few persons are willing to acknowledge the fact, out of a vague but surely correct sense that it is not altogether American to do so. Your standards are unreasonably high, you must be exaggerating, you must be of a naturally melancholy and saturnine temperament. . From this pragmatic vantage point “success” itself is but a form of “failure,” a compromise between what is desired and what is attained.

Never be ashamed of your subject, and of your passion for your subject. Your “forbidden” passions are likely to be the fuel for your writing. Like our great American dramatist Eugene O’Neill raging through his life against a long-deceased father; like our great American prose stylist Ernest Hemingway raging through his life against his mother; like Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton struggling through their lives with the seductive Angel of Death, tempting them to the ecstasy of self-murder. The instinct for violent self-laceration in Dostoyevsky, and for the sadistic punishment of “disbelievers” in Flannery O’Connor.

All sorts of things happened in a moment. The candles all grew up to the ceiling. . As to the bottles, they each took a pair of plates, which they hastily fitted as wings, and so, with forks for legs, went fluttering about in all directions. . At this moment Alice heard a hoarse laugh at her side, and turned to see what was the matter with the White Queen, but, instead of the Queen, there was the leg of mutton sitting in a chair. ” cried a voice from the soup tureen, and Alice turned again, just in time to see the Queen’s broad, good-natured face 44 “ w h at s i n to m e u n k n ow n .

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