The New Center of Anglo-American Letters

I recommend Garth Risk Hallberg’s article “Why Write Novels at All?” in The New York Times. He looks at whether the writers at a 2006 literary conference in Italy called Le Conversazioni–Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace and Nathan Englander–constitute a new movement and whether there is a common aesthetic among them. I don’t believe they form a movement, but they are collectively taking over the spotlight from their predecessors, writers like Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, John Updike, Toni Morrison and Philip Roth.

Here is video of the late David Foster Wallace from the conference, his commentary deals less with writing, and more with the anxiety of being in a foreign country. Wallace is hilarious in describing the super-self conscious manner in which he experiences Italy as a non-Italian speaker.

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