'and then...

  • the different branches of Arithmetic - -- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.' (A Mock Turtle regards his schooldays.) A weblog on books, media and writing by Genevieve Tucker.

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May 20, 2005


Good points. There have always been no shortage of overused schemas used by unimaginative writers, and it's wrong to blame Freud for having been famous enough to provide yet another one. The particular breed of reductionist psychological realism espoused by Carver and his scions still seems to dominate writing workshops, and it has much less to do with Freud than with Updike and Cheever, both good writers who should not be imitated.

Lionel Trilling's "Sincerity and Authenticity" has a much more perceptive and informed look at Freud (via Marcuse and Norman O. Brown). It helps link Freud to a post-Nietzschean continuum of self-uncertainty.

(Also, check out Siegel's review of Eyes Wide Shut for why he really shouldn't talk about film at all.)

Hee hee. Thanks, I'll look at that. Phillips also quotes Trilling.
And I like the notion that there are good writers who should not be imitated.

Wonderful post: one thing blogging surely is good for is puncturing the gaseousness of other bloggers. You've done a lovely job here.

I wish I had the energy to say more--to explore these thoughts as if over a virtual cuppa. I hope you keep writing about this so that perhaps I can.


When I get a moment from battling an insensitive service provider on behalf of my young man, there is a little segue on Hanif Kureishi's lifting of a 'story' from Phillips' not-so-sizzling essays in Houdini's Box (for the novel Intimacy, no less!) that I might indulge in. Apart from that I think our learned colleague Mr. Waggish has very kindly given us both plenty to go on with. But the points I expressed would not lie down quietly, so I got 'em out there.

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