Bitching + Moaning
Unexpected post by Hugh McLeod on Gaping Void about the Parisian literary microcosm. Hugh talks about a female friend of his, a Parisian, who wrote a novel and cant succeed in having it published. Hugh wonders why she refuses to publish that book on a blog. Let’s try to answer his questions from a french perspective.
God and the Auteur
I guess it must be strange for foreign people to understand our reverence towards Le Roman (the Novel) in particular and books in general. Hugh admires it though. I guess there are a couple of things he is missing here.
Oddly enough, what wannabe french writers wish is not to distribute their writing through any possible channel. What they want is to have their name on a published book. So that they become an Auteur as Hugh noticed.
I have already mentionned this (French Blogging Sucks) when I tried to explain why, despite being french, the blogosphere I felt closest to was anglo american. To such extent that I was often blogging in english.
One of the reasons was that in my country the writings are sacred. I cant recall exactly whose theory is this but it seems to me it was Bernard Henry Levy or any of our modern philosopher. Anyway : I fully buy into the explanation below.
This goes back to the Revolution when we beheaded our king and took the church out of the République. No more God, no more king, no guide left to show us the way (I tend to think that our chronical despair is somehow related to that but that’s another story). So no one left, no one but the philosophers (Les Lumieres) : they became our Gods and the writing became their Word. I am not saying it’s good or bad, don’t get me wrong.
Hugh seems quite amused with the topic of the novel : sex and introspection. A terrible literary trend we’ve been suffering for about 10 years. With authors publishing 130 pages novels with a narration spiraling around their oversized ego. This actual style is known as autofiction. I am quite tempted to add an “r” between the “f” and the “i”.
While posting this type of crude and self indulgent stories on a blog could prove to be embarassing, it is not when published in a book. The writer is there under the protection of the Auteur Divine Halo.
Gatekeepers of the microcosm unite
Any man and his dog can have a blog now. In such an elitist society as ours, the vast majority of the publishing industry power of the french language is concentrated in a few Paris blocks. This would be awfully unappropriate to circumvent the gatekeepers as Hugh is suggesting. Because the goal is not to become the gatekeeper. And then get the authority to bitch and moan.