Remember novels?


Over at The New Yorker, novelist Adelle Waldman defends the only form of writing less popular and more antiquated than blogging. Here’s the ending:

There remain subjects aside from storytelling that the novel might continue to pursue profitably—subjects that weren’t exhausted in the 19th century. A few that come to my mind: interpersonal ethics; the varieties of form conscience takes in individual psyches; the difficulty of getting along with others; the qualities of mind that meaningfully distinguish one person from another (i.e., what makes Vronsky so different Oblonsky so different from Levin). Whatever else it’s done, contemporary life hasn’t obviated these kinds of questions any more than it has rendered the novel incapable of addressing them.


  1. Shields was also the gadfly that got much of the ball rolling regarding the Paul Elie “We Need to Have a Conversation” essay to Catholic writers.



  2. You can’t have a conversation with novelists because they’re always in mid-plot. But people talk too much anyway. Write, novelists! Write like the wind!

  3. I think Waldman is on to something. Novels have the potential to be less gnostic than essays.

  4. Quin Finnegan says

    Nice find. Didn’t the KP even publish one of those things a ways back? We should doore of those.

  5. Quin Finnegan says

    Good article. I’ve always been suspicious of that Shields guy. Talks pretty and all, but …

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