Dear reader, life is too short for crap books.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Then It Became Abominable.*

Behold, constant readers, this transcript of Stephen King's acceptance speech to the National Book Foundation upon receiving the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award in 2003. His speech is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a rather thoughtful little chat about the whole literary fiction vs. genre/popular fiction deathmatch. Certainly worth a look, even if you don't agree with him.

King also scores pretty high on the cool-o-meter for invoking the spirit of Frank Norris, whose best-known novel is like a naturalist Cujo but with a dentist, thusly:

"Frank Norris, the author of McTeague, said something like this: "What should I care if they, i.e., the critics, single me out for sneers and laughter? I never truckled, I never lied. I told the truth." And that's always been the bottom line for me."

*The title of this post, of course, has nothing to do with Stephen King. It is my favorite sentence from McTeague. It might even be my favorite sentence from the 1800s, beating out such popular favorites as "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" or "Done because we are too menny".

1 comment:

Gorgo said...

That's so weird. I was just talking about King winning this award last night. I'd never seen the transcript before.

Any of those folks out there who dismiss his work due to genre ghettoization are missing out on one of the best storytellers of the past century.