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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

entry arrow1:04 PM | An Update to Connie's Philistinism, By Way of Ursula K. Le Guin

You can read my post below for all the necessary details attached to the, uhm, issue... but now I'd like to quote Ursula K. Le Guin and part of her review of a book by Nobel Prize winner José Saramago. Le Guin, you see, had the same problems as Connie Veneracion (who has just battled Amado V. Hernandez, but in the end called the National Artist for Literature an inept writer incapable of "simple" literary language...), but in Le Guin's case, she proved that she could rise above all-too-easy "philistinism" (Exie Abola's word), and set about educating herself instead. The rewards, she finally reported, were priceless:

Some years ago a reliable friend told me I should read José Saramago's Blindness. Faced with pages of run-on sentences and unparagraphed dialogue without quotation marks, I soon quit, snarling about literary affectations. Later I tried again, went further, and quit because I was scared. Blindness is a frightening book. Before I'd let an author of such evident power give me the horrors, he'd have to earn my trust. So I went back to the earlier novels and put myself through a course of Saramago.

It's hard not to gallop through prose that uses commas instead of full stops, but once I learned to slow down, the rewards piled up: his sound, sweet humour, his startling imagination, his admirable dogs and lovers, the subtle, honest workings of his mind. Here indeed was a novelist worthy of a reader's trust. So at last I could read his great book...

If this doesn't prove the thesis I set out in that earlier post, I don't know what will.

UPDATE: Charles Tan dissects what he thinks is wrong with The Sassy Lawyer's argument. It's quite incisive, I tell you.

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