Las peleas literarias del 2012

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Una lista imprescindible: las peleas literarias que animaron el 2012. La elaboró Rachel Arons pare el blog de la revista The New Yorker. Entre ellas destacan: el poema “Lo que me gustaría decir” de Gunter Grass contra Israel, país que lo declaró persona non grata; el premio Pulitzer declarado desierto, para horror de uno de los pre-jurados, el narrador Michael Cunningham; el caso Guerra y Paz entre los e books Nook y Kindle; el interesante debate sobre la necesidad, o no, de la crítica literaria negativa en revistas y diarios; los ridículos herederos de Faulkner queriendo poner una demanda a Woody Allen por citarlo en su última película; los ataques en Twitter de Bret Easton Ellis contra el fallecido David Foster Wallace, recopilados en la autobiografía de este último; y Salman Rushdie desatando toda clase de réplicas -a favor y en contra- por sus ataques contra Mo Yan que incluye la estupenda defensa del narrador chino del hindú Pankaj Mishra.

Aquí algunos de los duelos:

Günter Grass vs. Israel
In April, the Nobel Prize-winning German author Günter Grass became persona non grata in Israel after publishing a poem, entitled “What Must Be Said,” which denounced the country for threatening to use nuclear force against Iran (“Why do I say only now, aged and with my last drop of ink, that the nuclear power Israel endangers an already fragile world peace?”) Grass, who has admitted that he served in the Waffen-SS as a teen-ager, clarified that he meant to criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies, not Israel itself. But two days later, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced that Grass was being barred from the country. “His distorted poems are not welcome in Israel,” said Yishai. “I suggest he try them in Iran where he will find a sympathetic audience.” The following week, Dave Eggers decided not to attend the ceremony awarding him the Günter Grass Foundation’s forty-thousand euro Albatross prize, saying that he was happy to receive the award but felt that the ceremony should have been postponed until the controversy had died down.

The Pulitzer Prize Board vs. The Fiction Jurors
David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King,” Denis Johnson’s “Train Dreams,” and Karen Russell’s “Swamplandia!” were all in the running for this year’s Pulitzer Prize in fiction but, in April, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced that for the first time in thirty-five years it would not award a fiction prize. “The three books were fully considered, but in the end, none mustered the mandatory majority for granting a prize, so no prize was awarded,” said the prize administrator Sig Gissler. Fiction juror Susan Larson said in an interview on NPR that the jury was “shocked … angry … and very disappointed” at the board’s decision. At Page-Turner, another juror, Michael Cunningham, expressed similar disappointment and broke down the process by which he and the other jurors had arrived at their short list after reading over three hundred novels and short-story collections. “We were enormously pleased with the artfulness and fearlessness and unorthodox beauties of the books we’d decided to nominate,” he wrote.

The debate over negative criticism
In August, Jacob Silverman wrote an article at Slate which argued that social media was creating a surplus of niceness in today’s book world. Silverman’s essay, along with two negative book reviews in the New York Times Book Review later in the month, sparked a lively debate about the function of positive and negative criticism in literary culture. Critics at Salon, the Times, the Awl and The New Yorker weighed in, writing pieces in favor or against bad reviews. At Page-Turner, Daniel Mendelsohn’s “Critic’s Manifesto” summed up the discussion and argued that the critic’s role is to “mediate intelligently and stylishly between a work and its audience,” an endeavor that sometimes requires honest, thoughtful negativity. “Any call to eliminate negative reviewing,” he wrote, “is to infringe catastrophically on the larger project of criticism: if a critic takes seriously his obligation to pass judgments—which, merely statistically, are likely to have to be negative as well as positive—his sense of responsibility to those judgments and their significance has to outweigh all other considerations.”

Bret Easton Ellis’s Twitter tirade against D.F.W.
Reading the New Yorker staff writer D. T. Max’s newly published biography of David Foster Wallace, “Every Love Story is a Ghost Story,” made Bret Easton Ellis mad. The “American Psycho” author took to Twitter midway through the book to attack Wallace, calling him a “fraud” and “the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of my generation.” “Anyone who finds David Foster Wallace a literary genius has got to be included in the Literary Doucebag-Fools Pantheon,” he ranted. (Ellis’s many Twitter tirades this year included one against Kelly Marcel, the British writer who secured the “Fifty Shades of Grey” screenwriting job that Ellis had expressed interest in.) To be fair, D.F.W. had taken swipes at Ellis in the past and, as Gerald Howard pointed out at Salon, the tension between the two authors went back decades.

Salman Rushdie calls Mo Yan a “patsy”
No sooner had Salman Rushdie and John le Carré ended their fifteen-year-long feud than Rushdie initiated a new one when, earlier this month, he expressed his outrage over 2012 Nobel Prize-winner Mo Yan’s defense of censorship and refusal to sign a petition calling for the release of imprisoned Chinese writer and fellow Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo. “Hard to avoid the conclusion that Mo Yan is the Chinese equivalent of the Soviet Russian apparatchik writer Mikhail Sholokhov: a patsy of the régime,” Rushdie wrote on Facebook. Pankaj Mishra responded with a defense of Yan in the Guardian, wondering why Western writers are not subject to the same political scrutiny and arguing that it is “unfair to expect Mo Yan alone to embrace the many perils of dissent and nonconformity.” Rushdie fired back in a letter to the Guardian, saying that Mishra’s piece “makes a series of confused, dishonest and wrong-headed assertions” and, on the New York Review of Books blog, Perry Link defended Rushdie’s right to criticize Yan and weighed in on the also-controversial question of whether Yan deserved to win the Nobel Prize. “But these are only my views,” he concluded. “Please help yourself to your own.”

Fuente: Moleskine Literario

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