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A Chat with the Brave New... Clockwork World

British Literary Desperadoes at the Turn of the Millennium by Professor Lidia Vianu is a beginning for LiterNet. Bilingual editions of Romanian or European authors illustrated the broad spectre of a Romanian centred cultural portal. Lidia Vianu's book is published (for the time being) solely in English and it is a step – we cannot appreciate its importance yet – forward towards the condition of a cultural portal which belongs to several languages at once, among which, of course, the mother tongue of its staff.

A mere presentation of the book in question is not the place for ampler statements concerning this step in the constant evolution of LiterNet. The presentation is supposed to answer the usual question: Why download and read this book?

This is a theoretical book but this is not totally new for LiterNet. LiterNet has already published theoretical books, such as the volume of essays on the sociology of literature signed by Dan Lungu, Associate Professor (and fiction writer) in Iassy. So far, however, these were occasional incidents. What LiterNet hopes is that Lidia Vianu's inciting invitation will be followed by more systematic publications of the same kind.

Professor of contemporary British literature at the English Department of Bucharest University, the author suggests an intriguing title for her book, creating a term, the Desperado. The word was borrowed from meaningful Mediterranean places and words. The author explains didactically but also with discreet and captivating British humour what she means by Desperado literature: she means a literary space where all writers use à outrance all literary tricks ever devised, in order to be different, to shock at all costs, to become their own trend. Read the very appealing foreword the author herself begins with.

What are the challenges? We are warned we are not about to read a scholarly book of literary criticism, but a reading diary. We will be part of a knowledgeable chat, whose very aim is to find a new name for this literature at the turn of the millennium. The term Desperado is suggested with audacity, persistence and definitely with humour. The term is full of suggestions, inciting, alive and challenging – it opposes the debatable, rather dull postmodernism.

After stating the challenges, the editor, who must introduce this text and recommend it, takes refuge – with intense joy – in the status of the liternetting reader, enjoying the perfume and the intellectual spark of chapter titles. Here are two examples only, for the spirit of this book which we invite you with enthusiasm to download and read: Brave New Novel (Aldous Huxley) and The Clockwork Novel (Anthony Burgess – whose novel and film, A Clockwork Orange, was the delight of a previous generation).

We can only feel sorry that Saki was a Victorian and Isak Babel is not British...

British Desperadoes at the Turn of the Millennium
Table of contents


 Brave New Novel
Aldous Huxley: 1894-1963

 A Handbook of Despair
George Orwell: 1903-1950

 The Self-Indulgent Novelist
Evelyn Waugh: 1903-1966

 The Rescuer of the Story
Graham Greene: 1904-1991

 The Clockwork Novel
Anthony Burgess: 1917-1993

 The Uncomfortable Novelist
Doris Lessing: born 1919

 A Restlessly Reticent Poet
Philip Larkin: 1922-1985

 Fowles Outbids Fowles
John Fowles: born 1926

 Blank Despair of Words
Alan Brownjohn: born 1931

 At the Gates of Commonsense
Malcolm Bradbury: born 1932

 The Self-Consuming Dystopia of Age
Alasdair Gray: born 1934

 A Desperado of Simplicity
David Lodge: born 1935

 The Down Syndrome of Emotional Fiction
Julian Barnes: born 1946

 The Desperado of Sensibility Laid Bare
Peter Ackroyd: born 1949

 The Novel to Rent
Martin Amis: born 1949

 The Disappointed and Disappointing Memory–Land Reclaimer
Graham Swift: born 1949

 Irony and the Compulsion of Reading Morally
Kazuo Ishiguro: born 1954