Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir sf: Leigh Brackett: Moore

From: Nathan Cain (
Date: 26 Oct 2007

I was suggesting that, in certain cases, Henry James might still be read for pleasure. That's an important distinction. For a writer to be great his work has to be able to be read for pleasure generations later. Being a bestseller in your own time isn't enough.Neither is being historically relevant. (i.e., just being the first writer to do X, doesn't make you great) Cooper doesn't pass the test for me. And being technically skilled, as James was, is not enough. Still, he wrote some good stories, but he also had some terrible ones (The Beast in the Jungle, springs to mind).

On 10/26/07, William Ahearn <> wrote:
> --- Nathan Cain < <>> wrote:
> > Cooper is not a great American writer.He was one of
> > the first American
> > writers, which is why he is famous. The quality of
> > his work doesn't really
> > enter into it. Hawthorne and Melville Yes. Poe,
> > Yes. I'll even make room
> > for Henry James, if someone wants to make a case for
> > it, but Cooper, no.
> Huh? You'll make room for Henry James? I'm not
> interested -- for the most part -- in the work of
> James but as a stylist and as a technician he kicks
> Poe's butt. I'd rather read Poe than James but for all
> that dismissing James is a tad glib and reactionary.
> His subject matter is not on topic, as it were, yet
> it's silly to demean James in a post that looks
> historically at American writing. The real question is
> whether James will make room for you.
> William
> Essays and Ramblings
> <>
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