Saturday, June 1, 2013

New essay!: on the prose style of Richard Ford

A sportswriter in natural habitat. 
I have a new essay on Richard Ford's prose style in his 1986 novel The Sportswriter online in the latest update at Open Letters Monthly. It's built around a close reading of a short passage, Auerbach-style, and was a lot of fun to write. Actually, it started as a draft post for this blog, but when it grew past 3,000 words, it was clear that it could find a home elsewhere. (That said, it's even longer now, so feel free to take an intermission if you need.) A preview:
Bascombe can’t be taken at his word; the reader can never take him altogether seriously. And even he himself can see his own ridiculousness at points. For all his mockably serious self-absorption, his moment of crisis—and Ford’s novel—springs from an inability to take himself seriously because of this power to see the silliness in his reflections and his life. The salient 20th-century everyman who is his progenitor in this regard is not Rabbit Angstrom or Moses Herzog or Leopold Bloom. It is J. Alfred Prufrock.
You can read the rest here, at Open Letters Monthly. Please share by Facebook, Twitter, or sentient messenger dolphin if you like it!

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