On That English-Irish Divide

November 3rd, 2005 · 1 Comment
by Booksquare

“English writers for the most part try to follow Orwell’s dictum that prose should be a pane of clear glass through which you look,” he [John Banville] said. “But Irish writers think of prose style as a distorting lens. We love that ambiguity; we love that a word can have three or four meanings at the same time.”

File Under: Quote of the Week

1 response so far ↓

  • David Thayer // Nov 3, 2005 at 10:47 am

    I’ve often thought that English and American writers are steeped in Puritanism, while the Irish, like the Spanish, just do whatever the heck they want. I’m reading Saramago, who is having more fun than Banville, who is having more fun than Zadie Smith, and lots more fun than Updike, DeLillo, or Barth. My theory fades when the former Commonwealth countries are included, as Margaret Atwood seems to have fun, while VS Naipaul doesn’t. That’s the fun theory of literature, still in its infancy, but Swiftian at its core. Not available in stores, however.