Reevaluating Influence

An interview with Howard Bloom
(via Books Inq.)

I've always found the concept of "the anxiety of influence" interesting.  What is more interesting and perhaps less commented on is the anxiety of the canon, by with I mean that as time spins out and more an more new works come to notice, it becomes more and more difficult to stand out.  Certainly time does a fair share of weeding--but it is easier to stand out in a world where perhaps a thousand books a year are published as opposed to a thousand books a day/and hour/(with the internet) a minute. 

Standing next to Shakespeare and Joyce, it takes a tremendous amount to hold your own, much less be pulled into the canon. 

It suggests that we need to develop the literary equivalent of atavan.


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