Blasphemy and Parody

Since English writer Howard Jacobson just won the Man Booker prize in fiction for The Finkler Question, I thought I’d give my blog a literary pinup by quoting him. And, besides, what he writes goes right into my same sandwich of thought.

“Trawl through the world of blogs and tweets and you will find readers complaining when they stumble upon a word they don’t recognise, an attitude that doesn’t accord with their own, a passage of thought they find hard work, a joke they don’t get or of which they don’t approve. Anyone would think that the whole art and pleasure of reading consisted in getting helter-skelter through a novel, unscathed, unchallenged, and without encountering anyone but oneself. Once we wrestled with the angel when we read; now we ask only to slumber in his arms.” Howard Jacobson

“A novel may be as offensive as it chooses or happens to be — so long, of course, as it is funny or, at the least, enlivening. It may be sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, antisemitic, masculinist, man-hating, misanthropic, etc. And the reader who complains of finding any of those unpalatable is describing his own nervous system, not the novel.” Howard Jacobson



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