Me being me, I see vast amounts of data, and I want to analyze it! So here is something of a meta-list, compiled from all all the posts from 30 July. (Essentially, I made one big list, then saw who came up the most.)
Which authors, then, were most mentioned? Upon which literary pillars does Big Other rest?
First, a few words of warning. There was a lot of data, and I could have made mistakes. And the data was hardly “complete”—there were 34 posts in all. (Not 50, quel dommage!) But I figured that, right here right now, this is a decent enough indicator of who Big Other and its readers have been most influenced by.
My method: I counted each mention of an author—each time a poster gave them one of their 50 spots—as a point (essentially). I deleted mentions of specific books or works, because compiling that, too, would have taken forever (and in any case, their best known works tended to be the ones most frequently invoked). And some posters listed more than 50 authors/works, but since no one went insanely crazy over, I didn’t bother weighting the lists or anything.
So without any further ado, here are the results!
25 mentions: William S. Burroughs
… Right away, though, we need an asterisk, because most of these mentions come from Davis Schneiderman’s post. (Davis, in case you didn’t know, was really influenced by Billy B.)
After that we have:
20 mentions: Samuel Beckett
19 mentions: James Joyce, Virginia Woolf
18 mentions: Vladimir Nabokov
15 mentions: William Faulkner
14 mentions: William H. Gass
After that, names start regularly tying:
13 mentions: Jorge Luis Borges, William Shakespeare
12 mentions: Cormac McCarthy, Gertrude Stein, Italo Calvino
11 mentions: Denis Johnson, Donald Barthelme, Don DeLillo, Flannery O’Connor, Herman Melville, Robert Coover
10 mentions: Ben Marcus, Franz Kafka
9 mentions: David Markson, Gabriel García Márquez, Toni Morrison
8 mentions: Alice Munro, David Foster Wallace, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens
7 mentions: Barry Hannah, Brian Evenson, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Guy Davenport, Jacques Derrida, Samuel R. Delany, Thomas Pynchon
6 mentions: Carole Maso, Djuna Barnes, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gary Lutz, J. G. Ballard, Laurence Sterne, Leo Tolstoy, Lewis Carroll, Marcel Proust, Philip Roth
5 mentions: Emily Brontë, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Orwell, Henry Miller, John Barth, John Crowley, Kathy Acker, Margaret Atwood, Mary Gaitskill, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Bradbury, Raymond Carver, Thomas Mann, Walter Benjamin, William Carlos Williams, William Gaddis
4 mentions: Alain Robbe-Grillet, Albert Camus, Amy Hempel, Clarice Lispector, Dante Alighieri, Dennis Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Eileen Myles, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flann O’Brien, Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, Gustave Flaubert, Harold Pinter, Henry David Thoreau, Jayne Anne Phillips, Jean Genet, Jean Rhys, Jeanette Winterson, Miguel de Cervantes, Søren Kierkegaard, Stanley Elkin, T.S. Eliot, W. G. Sebald, William Golding
3 mentions: Alan Moore, Anne Carson, Annie Dillard, Anton Chekhov, Bachelard, Beowulf (work, not author, obv), Bret Easton Ellis, Christine Schutt, David Mitchell, David Ohle, Doris Lessing, E.L. Doctorow, Elizabeth Hardwick, Ezra Pound, Georges Bataille, Graham Greene, Guy Debord, Henry James, Hunter S. Thompson, Isak Dinesen, Jack Kerouac, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, John Cheever, John Hawkes, John Updike, Joseph Heller, Juan Rulfo, Julio Cortázar, Junot Díaz, Kurt Vonnegut, Leslie Scalapino, Lorrie Moore, Louise Erdrich, Marguerite Duras, Marilynne Robinson, Marquis de Sade, Mary Shelley, Michael Martone, Michael Ondaatje, Milan Kundera, Pablo Neruda, Patricia Highsmith, Patrik Ourdenik, Paul West, Philip K. Dick, Plato, Renata Adler, Robert Gluck, Roland Barthes, Sam Lipsyte, Shel Silverstein, Shelley Jackson, Stanley Crawford, Steve Erickson, Tim O’Brien, W. B. Yeats, Walt Whitman, Willa Cather
2 mentions: Alfred Jarry, Alphonso Lingis, Alyson Hagy, Anais Nin, Ander Monson, André Breton, Andy Warhol, Angela Carter, Annie Proulx, Antonin Artaud, Aristotle, Arthur Rimbaud, Audre Lorde, Black Elk & John G. Neihardt, Blake Butler, Brion Gysin, Bruno Schulz, Céline, Charlotte Brontë, Chris Ware, Christina Stead, Coleman Dowell, Comte de Lautréamont, David Mazzucchelli, Diane Williams, Edward P. Jones, Evelyn Waugh, Frank Stanford, George Konrad, George Saunders, Grace Paley, H.G. Wells, Harlan Ellison, Harry Matthews & Alastair Brotchie (the Oulipo Compendium), Hart Crane, Hélène Cixous, Henri Bergson, Homer, Immanuel Kant, J. D. Salinger, J. M. Coetzee, James Salter, James Tate, Jane Austen, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Joe Wenderoth, John Cage, John Donne, John Keats, Jonathan Franzen, Jonathan Swift, Joseph Conrad, Joyce Carol Oates, Joyelle McSweeney, Katherine Anne Porter, Kenneth Goldsmith, Kenzaburo Oe, Laird Hunt, Lance Olsen, Lee K. Abbott, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lyn Hejinian, M.F.K. Fisher, Malcolm Lowry, Mark Twain, Mark Z. Danielewski, Mary Caponegro, Matt Bell, Michael Cunningham, Michel Foucault, Mina Loy, N. Scott Momaday, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Nicholson Baker, Nikos Kazantzakis, Norman Lock, Ovid, Paul Auster, Paul Bowles, Percival Everett, Peter Markus, Primo Levi, Raymond Federman, Richard Brautigan, Richard Ford, Richard Yates, Rick Bass, Rick Moody, Robert Graves, Robert Lopez, Salman Rushdie, Sherwood Anderson, Stephen Crane, Stephen Dixon, Stephen King, Steve Tomasula, Susan Howe, Susan Sontag, Sylvia Plath, Thalia Field, the Bible, the Brothers Grimm, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Thomas Bernhard, Tom Phillips, Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, Twin Peaks, Unsaid IV, Ursula K. Le Guin, William T. Vollmann, Yoko Ono, Zora Neale Hurston
… After that, barring mistakes, any author or work mentioned was mentioned only once.
Finally, here are some authors I didn’t see mentioned at all, and whose omission surprised me (italics indicates a name on Gass’s original list):
Agatha Christie, Amiri Baraka, Ann Beattie, Anne Sexton, Anthony Burgess, B.S. Johnson, Bob Dylan, Camilo José Cela, Charles Bernstein, Charles M. Schultz, Charles Olson, Chinua Achebe, Christine Brooke-Rose, Colette, Confucius, Danilo Kis, David Mamet, e.e. cummings, Edward Said, Ford Maddox Ford, Friedrich Hölderlin, George Oppen, Georges Perec, G. W. F. Hegel, Herman Broch, Howard Zinn, Hugh Kenner, Italo Svevo, James Thurber, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jack Spicer, John Berryman, John Lennon, John O’Hara, José Lezama, Joy Williams, Kōbō Abe, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Leonard Cohen, Loriene Neidecker, Louis Zukofsky, Nicholas Mosley, Nikolai Gogol, Noam Chomsky, Oscar Wilde, Paul Metcalf, Philip Larkin, Pierre Klossowski, Rae Armentrout, Robert Creeley, Ronald Firbank, Ron Sukenick, Rudy Wurlitzer, Rumi, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sappho, Steve Katz, S. J. Perelman, Tao Lin, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, Thucydides, Viktor Shklovsky (sob!), Villon, Wallace Shawn, Witold Gombrowicz, Woody Allen, and Yusef Komunyakaa.
OK! Hooray! Go read something now!
(And happy belated birthday, Mr. Gass!)
Update: I’ve added John Domini’s data, and corrected an error that John M. pointed out. Thanks, guys!