Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Anguish of Modern Man

The front of my copy of Homo Faber by Max Frisch says:

"Max Frisch has captured that essential anguish of modern man which we find in the best of Camus."
--Saturday Review

Oh great, I think, as I open the book. The anguish of modern man. My favorite. And why do they have to mention Camus? We're not talking about Camus here! Can't they say a book is good with out comparing it to someone else who's good?

I've had enough of the anguish of modern man. Been there, done that. How bored I am of the perspective of white men!* How about the anguish of modern women? Can we have more of that please? Or better yet, no anguish at all? I've read Camus and Sartre, I've thoroughly enjoyed them and related to them and their words have resonated in my being, I've rolled about in my own anguish and depression, bladdy bladdy blah. Would it be unliterary and low-brow of me to say I want to read books that cultivate happiness? Well, I do. Our culture seems to divide into two courts these days: instant-gratification/artificial happiness or cynicism/stoicism/anguish of modern man.
Bullshit. Let's try cultivating a more sincere contentment and joy. Let's write and read books that reflect this.

Anyway, I actually quite liked Homo Faber.

*Is French Algerian considered white? Camus?

1 comment:

  1. I haven't finished reading Homo Faber yet but that quote instantly cooled my jets. The bit about "the anguish of modern man" made me snort. Does that appeal to anyone?