Thursday, April 30, 2009

Isaac Bashevis Singer

The other day I enjoyed listening to Nathan Englander read and discuss Isaac Bashevis Singer's story "Disguised."

This is from Singer's introduction to his 1983 Collected Stories:

Fiction in general should never become analytic. As a matter of fact, the writer of fiction should not even try to dabble in psychology and its various isms. Genuine literature informs while it entertains. It manages to be both clear and profound. It has the magical power of merging causality with purpose, doubt with faith, the passions of the flesh with the yearnings of the soul. It is unique and general, national and universal, realistic and mystical. While it tolerates commentary by others, it should never try to explain itself. These obvious truths must be emphasized, because false criticism and pseudo-originality have created a state of literary amnesia in our generation. The zeal for messages has made many writers forget that storytelling is the raison d'etre of artistic prose.

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