Friday, June 27, 2008

authors who barely pause for breath

The Guardian examines the perils of productivity.

To be prolific shouldn't be a curse, and yet it has about it the miasma that hovers around all tendency to excess. If there is so much of it, can it all be quality product?

There must be a reasonable limit, but where does it lie? Beyond a certain level of productive output, the ghost of Dame Barbara Cartland materialises, recumbent on a chaise longue, dictating screeds of barely serviceable pap. In an era, however, before the domestic electronic distractions mentioned by Freeman set our daily contexts, writing could often constitute almost the entire mental armature and consuming business of a life. There is so much of Dickens that we wonder how he managed to do anything other than write, and yet only a cultural studies undergraduate would call him the Barbara Cartland of his day.

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