And with it, Self guns for literary immortalityby Ian Sansom / June 21, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
Phone by Will Self (Viking, £18.99)
“Modern authorship,” according to William Hazlitt in his Lectures on the Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth, “is become a species of stenography: we continue even to read by proxy. We skim the cream of prose without any trouble; we get at the quintessence of poetry without loss of time. The staple commodity, the coarse, heavy, dirty, unwieldy bullion of books is driven out of the market of learning, and the intercourse of the literary world is carried on, and the credit of the great capitalists sustained by the flimsy circulating medium of magazines.” Hazlitt was writing a long time ago, and of course we’re all proxy cream-skimmers now, but if you’re in the mood for the coarse, the heavy, the dirty and unwieldy—if you’re a true seeker after the bullion, then go straight to Will Self. He’s like Goethe’s dog: he eats glass and shits diamonds.