That’s not typing, that’s écriture

Truman Capote famously quipped regarding Kerouac’s writing, “That’s not writing, that’s typing!” Happily, thanks to the heightened serendipitous dimensions of cyberspace, I happened on a closer reader of Kerouac, Clark Coolidge. One can mouse around the links from the original Jacket2 posting, but what caught my attention was Ron Silliman’s remark that

One test of Coolidge as a critic – you can find some other non-Kerouac samples as well on his EPC web page – is that he gets the importance of Visions of Cody, not just as a central work in the Kerouac canon, but quite possibly the Great Novel of the past century, right up on a par with Ulysses Gravity’s Rainbow & the best of Faulkner (who is not unlike Kerouac in that his best work often comes in passages, rather than entire books).

I’ve long admired Kerouac’s achievement in The Legend of Dulouz, his novels taken as one multivolume work, but I can’t recall having encountered anyone else who appreciated what happens when the novel taps into its original energies as the genre that is by definition novel, as “the genre that contains all other genres,” when the narrative becomes écriture and one doesn’t know what one is reading anymore, only that one is reading. I’m glad to have chanced on someone else who gets it.

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