Monday, December 04, 2006

to cite or not to cite; Bob Levinson; Cameron Gray

From the New York Times


Published: December 5, 2006

At the end of Norman Mailer’s new 467-page novel, “The Castle in the Forest,”
after the acknowledgments page on which he thanks his assistants, archivist,
editor, publisher, wife, agents and German teacher, Mr. Mailer tacks on another flourish: an alphabetical list of 126 authors and titles that enriched the book.

Never mind asking how “Anna Karenina” and “Paradise Lost” could have influenced
“The Castle in the Forest,” a fictionalized account of Hitler’s boyhood to be released next month. What’s a bibliography doing in a novel?

“It’s terribly off-putting,” said James Wood, the literary critic for The New Republic. “It would be very odd if Thomas Hardy had put at the end of all his books, ‘I’m thankful to the Dorset County Chronicle for dialect books from the
18th century.’ We expect authors to do that work, and I don’t see why we should praise them for that work. And I don’t see why they should praise themselves
for it.”

Ed here:

The subject of using bibliographies in novels has been getting some play on blogs lately. I dunno. I've always felt guilty about using historical material without acknowledging it, especially in my westerns. I wouldn't mind citing a few of my sources now and then. I tried it once but it was cut before pub. Fortunately, in my house name adult westerns of old I was frequently able to acknowledge my debt to both "Anna Karenina" and "Paradise Lost."

From Bob Levinson

More "Small World" stuff...

Checked your blog to see how the Marcel story appeared and broke into a
smile at seeing your P.S. re Kevin McCarthy...I remember Kevin from the
days the Actors Studio West was being organized by Jack Garfein, Mark Rydell,
Marty Landau, etc., in particular at a party at the old Daisy private club in Beverly Hills. The party was hosted by Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, tied
(if memory serves) to a Studio fund-raiser we organized, a "petite premiere" of "Hombre" at the Directors Guild theater. ("Hombre"--from the book by
Elmore Leonard, of course...)

From Cameron Gray

Hi Ed,

A while ago, I remember seeing that a reprint of 'Blonde Bait" by Stephen
Marlowe was to be released soon from Point Blank Press with a new cover
design as well.
I've checked back at the site and it has disappeared. Will this ever be

If so, how about reprinting it along with Ed Lacy's "Blonde Bait" ? It
would be an interesting reprint, like an old Ace double.

Also, thanks to you, i have had great pleasure hunting for old Gold Medal's
due to your "Golden Harvest" article in The Big Book of Noir. Peter Rabe,
Charles Williams and Gil Brewer are probably my favourites not only from
your article but reading crime writing in general.

Any other writers (will Ennis Willie be reprinted soon?) that you can think
of from the "Golden Age", I look forward to reading about in your Blog.

Cameron Gray in Toronto
Ed here:

Not sure what's going on with Point Blank. I'm pretty sure they're back on a
regular publishing schedule. I know they're doing some fine stuff because I'm reading for the second time a really memorable collection of hardboiled stories
by Ed Lynskey. As for Ennis Willie, Lynn Munroe is the man to talk to. I think
he's been shopping the books around. We looked at them for Five Star but
knew--much as I'm a fan of them--that the publisher wouldn't see them as a
very good fit.


Anonymous said...

Sorry about the anonymous label. It is the only way the software at this site allows me to comment.

I have always enjoyed citing sources for my historical and biographical novels, and sometimes for my pure fiction as well. I've gathered this material in author's notes at the end of the novel, and sometimes explain where I strayed from historical sources for story purposes.

Recently my regional publisher Sunstone Press moved my usual rear-end author's notes for a novel about Buffalo Bill Cody forward, and turned them into a preface. The novel has drawn remarkable review attention, and I suspect the preface, so unusual for fiction, did it. I also suspect that my Sunstone editors are on to something.

I suspect that we are seeing one of those paradigm shifts in fiction, in which readers want the novels "authenticated." Perhaps they want quasi-novels that border nonfiction, rather than the traditional entirely invented fiction.

In which case, Mr. Mailer and his publishers may indeed be on to a trend.

Richard Wheeler

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed,

Thanks for the reply. I am ordering "Texas Wind" by James Reasoner and the new reprint of "Black Friday"by David Goodis from Serpant's Tail which includes many short stories by David which I have not read and are pretty hard to find on their own.

Cameron in Toronto