Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Novelists and philosophers

William H. Gass, critiquing Blood Meridian fifteen years before it was written:

Novelist and philosopher are both obsessed with language, and make themselves up out of concepts. Both, in a way, create worlds.... They are divine games. Both play at gods as others play at bowls....
Games – yet different games. Fiction and philosophy often make most acrimonious companions. To be so close in blood, so brotherly and like in body, can inspire a subtle hate; for their rivalry is sometimes less than open in its damage. They wound with advice. They smother with love. And they impersonate one another. Then, while in the other’s guise and gait and oratory, while their brother’s smiling ape and double, they do his suicide. Each expires in a welter of its own surprise.

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