Gabriel Blackwell on Stanley Elkin’s Boswell


I am, by way of introduction, perpetually adjunct; not quite ad hoc, still not joined. Inessential. A barnacle, an on-looker, a modifier. I worry. What encomiums for the adjunct?

I am a “Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing.” This is already my second year of visiting, my reunion with familiarity, a second chance for consequence. In nine months, I hope to still be visiting, to have immured my hosts to the fishy odor marking the offices I occupy. I’m a good guest. Quiet. I leave nothing behind. Boswell says: “I have come to make my fortune and have instead added to the fortunes of others. That’s the role of most men, I suppose.” Would it be wrong to find myself in his words? Too grand? I am a guest-post, a ghost, even here, on this blog. And you? You are a reader, a rubber-necker just like me.

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Announcing the Book Club Schedule!

The votes are in, and the winner of the poll for the first book to be discussed in the Big Other Book Club is Tom McCarthy’s C.  Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, hailed by many and knocked by maybe even more, McCarthy describes the book as dealing with technology and mourning.  I’m excited to have, as our first book for discussion, a contest finalist that’s merit has been argued.  All the more fuel for our discussion. I’ll start reading quite soon, and begin posting questions, comments and death threats in January.

In the  mean time, here’s the rest of the schedule for 2011:

January: Tom McCarthy C

February: Mary Caponegro The Complexities of Intimacy

March: Manuel Puig Betrayed by Rita Hayworth

April: Stanley Elkin Searches and Seizures: 3 Novellas

May: Djuna Barnes Nightwood

June: Lyn Hejinian My Life

July: John Barth The Sotweed Factor

August: Gordon Lish Peru

September: John Gardner and John Maier translation of Gilgamesh

October: John Hawkes Travesty

November: Helen Vendler Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries

December: Mo Yan Big Breasts and Wide Hips