And So They Said To Jonathan Swift, “You Have A Classic on Your Hands”

March 8th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

So they’re sitting around the publishing office, worried. Young(ish) Swift has written his masterpiece, but the market is crowded. Books are everywhere. If you have a pen and a decent imagination (and can afford reams of paper to crumple into balls and toss), you’re writing and publishing. The classics, and our publisher knows he has one on his hands, are being lost in the mix.

Swift’s book doesn’t stand a chance.

Or does it? Robert McCrum wonders if rationality has been lost in the desire to label everything an “instant” classic (this is, after all, the world that has already crowned the 2005 International Thriller of the Year).

Besides, it’s not up to us to say who’s great. Posterity will supply that answer, possibly identifying names who feature nowhere on the radar of literary fashion. Our job is to locate the writers we believe to be good and let them take their chance in the marketplace.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs