Gosh darn. Thanks for your trash talk on culture. I can't wait to see you and Philip Roth go all girlfight over who has the worst time reckoning himself to his anatomy.
You told a journalist that all fiction by women was sentimental, narrow and inferior, and thus, you sly cat, you got me, a woman, thinking. Think about that! Oddly, though I read several of your books when I was in my twenties, I can't remember titles, plots, if I liked them or didn't. Just sayin'. In terms of sentimentality, however, I wonder about the following books which I can remember reading when I was in my twenties.
Madame Bovary. The women kills herself. Loves goes wrong, society is a hard place for a woman, and so she paints her lips a tasteful blue and falls into the big sleep. Sentimental? If she had become a whore on the streets of Paris it would be less sentimental.
Anna Karenina. The woman kills herself. Karenina is a more engrossing book than Bovary but not quite as finely stitched--Flaubert is a real real careful writer, even I could tell that and I have a vagina and breasts. Russian society is a worse place to live in than Bovary's society and Anna chooses death by the D Train. Sentimental?
D.H. Lawrence, works thereof. Granted that for those of us of a certain age it is hard to disengage from images of Alan Bates and Oliver Reed man-wrestling on fur, when we think of Lawrence. Still Lawrence writes of Big Love and not Salt Lake City style. Sentimental, Sir. Lawrence is sentimental.
Karl Marx was so fully human in his love of each person's capacity for fulfillment and so fully committed to creating a world where that is possible, that well, he must be sentimental. Cause that ain't happening anytime soon. Certainly not equality for men and women, not as long as your types smirk and strut.
Proust. Well, no one would accuse a man who creates seven volumes of written memorabilia in search of lost times sentimental. Would they? A thousand-page docket of hard thinking? Nu-uh.
The Lake Poets? Nuttin' sentimental in a field of daffodils or a stately pleasure dome. I like to think of myself as a stately pleasure dome, but that's something altogether different.
Bold Lord Byron on whose verse butter melts? He's a wonderful poet but in disfavor, in some circles, for that boldness which is sentimental in its own way.
What about some of the great saints? Theresa, John of the Cross, Francis? Isn't it implicit in such kick-butt faith a level of sentimentality which allows us to believe the unseen.
Though I've read him, I'm going to take a pass on Rabelais here but I cannot ignore the sweeping gestures of Cervantes and his windmill-dualist as sentimental.
Clear-headed and divine though he was, Spinoza expressed some sentimentality in his notion of us ending up on a far star. And please, there nothing as sentimental as one of Leibniz’s monads. Those guys and gals are all about pulling out their handkerchiefs and showing us they cannot go in or out because they are monads, boo hoo. I'm tired of it!
Blake? Thomas Hardy?
I loved reading every book and author mentioned above. Except you who I neither like nor dislike as I cannot remember one thing about your novels.
Yours until the end of this posting,
Sarah "Sentimental Me" Sarai
p.s. Have you read Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead? I doubt it.
From some of my sisters. . .
From One Writer To Another: Shut Up, V.S. Naipaul by Diana Abu Jabar
In a Sentimental Mood by Danielle Pafunda
Sentimental, Narrow, Women’s Writing. Alas, Alack, Anon! by Roxane Gay
**The gorgeous monads available here. (If you don't know Leibnitz look elsewhere for what a real monad is. This monad is a computer thing but lovely.)