Friday, September 04, 2009
In a sense, Chabon writes, "all literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction. That is why Harold Bloom's notion of the anxiety of influence has always rung so hollow to me … . All novels are sequels; influence is bliss." Influence is bliss because reading is bliss, and one of the gifts this book [Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands] brings is its exploration of writers—as varied as Cormac McCarthy and Philip Pullman—for whom other books, previous books, are living beings with which (with whom) we converse and from whom we draw both instruction and delight. They have the breath of life in them, like Adam inspired by God, or the golems brought to life by the rabbis of old.
Books as living beings....I might not have quite put it like that, but it rings as a truth.
The quote is from Alan Jacobs' article on Michael Chabon (co-screenwriter of number 2 in the Spiderman series and author of numerous books).