Monday, September 03, 2007

Reclusive Authors

This article in the Los Angeles Times gives an overview of what we know or guess about famous reclusive authors--like Harper Lee, Cormac McCarthy, and Thomas Pynchon.

Why do they avoid the limelight?

"Smug, sensitive, too cool. . . " the paper wonders. ". . . arrogance, sensitivity, or a noble dissent -- a high-minded refusal to engage with America's culture of celebrity, erosion of privacy and self-promotion. . . ."

Book editor Arthur Salm provides wisdom:
"Reclusive writers are living perfectly reasonable lives," he said. "The fact that they're reclusive isn't the phenomenon: The phenomenon is our reaction to the fact that they're living normal lives. "


ldurrence said...

I agree with Mr Salm. Personally, if any of my work enjoys commercial success, I'll stay the same way - living among family and the handfull of close friends I have. Creativity is a tenuous thing, and I can think of no better way of squashing it than to subject myself to the whims of Hollywood, the mass media or too many people.

Vix said...

Thank you--very well said.

Since writing this entry in September, I've been reading Norman Mailer's The Spooky Art, about writing, and he has a lot to say about the celebrity and public persona of authors.