Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Five notable lectures on writing

Gish Jen, author of Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Interdependent Self, is the author of four novels, including Typical American, Mona in the Promised Land, and World and Town.

For The Daily Beast she named her favorite lectures on writing, including:
A Room of One’s Own
by Virginia Woolf

Less technically revelatory but more foundationally revolutionary [than Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster] is Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. “But, you may ask, we asked you to speak about women and fiction—what has that got to do with a room of one’s own?” she gently begins. And from there she winds on, proceeding, eventually, to proffer a “minor point”—namely that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” She spends far more time disarming her reader than Nabokov or Forster. “Lies will flow from my lips, but there may perhaps be some truth mixed up with them,” she says, insisting it is up to her audience to decide whether any part of her argument is “worth keeping.” As for what is up for consideration, that is the question of what would have happened “had Shakespeare had a wonderfully gifted sister, called Judith, let us say.” Indeed.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue