What a joke it is to read or hear—as I have read or heard more times than I can count—that writers ‘see more clearly’ or ‘feel more deeply’ than non-writers. The truth of the matter is that writers hardly ‘see’ or ‘feel’ at all. The disparity between a writer’s works and the world per se is so great as to beggar comment. Writers who arrange their lives so as to ‘have experiences’ in order to reduce them to contemptible linguistic recordings of these experiences are beneath contempt.”—Something Said, by Gilbert Sorrentino

To believe that ‘life isn’t fair’ is to believe that there is a kind of contract between us and life, and that bad luck, unhappiness, misery, illness and so on ‘unfairly’ break the contract. But there is no contract, and life is, simply, there.”—Something Said, by Gilbert Sorrentino

Writing is difficult and ‘strange,’ insofar as its vision of reality is unlike our vision of reality. Some writing is so remote from us that it cannot be read at all—it repels us, or, on the contrary, seduces us. We pretend that this writing is the manifestation of a private vision, that it sees a world, a reality, wholly different from our own. Nothing can be further from the truth. We sequester this writing, we call it exotic, or weird, or skewed, because otherwise we would be faced with the intolerable proposition that the reality such writing offers is, indeed, our own, but that we cannot, though we live in the middle of it, recognize it. Such writing shakes our precarious sense of ourselves, so it is much safer to pretend that it is but the excrescence of a strange mind sifting through its own invented detritus.”—Something Said, by Gilbert Sorrentino

Writers often use words up, that is, certain words or phrases become such an intimate part of a writer’s vocabulary that they no longer seem to exist as ‘innocent’ signifiers, but point only to the cosmos of the writer. ‘Lay’ people may use such words innocently, but to the specialist they do not signify; they have dropped all pretense toward naming things, and point only to the work which has, in effect, consumed them. When we speak of a writer’s vocabulary, we speak of the words that he has subverted in their primary function as signifiers. They now belong to him and point to his oeuvre. Who can write ‘gong-tormented,’ or ‘stately, plump,’ or ‘brightness falls’ and insist that these formulations are innocent descriptives? These words become internally ritualized, they are ‘meta-clichés.’”—Something Said, by Gilbert Sorrentino

A writer knows that he is a writer when he has lived long enough to see that his writing defines, as clearly as a graph, his life. The shock of this is not caused by anything so homely and acceptable as ‘the record of the passing years,’ or the recognition that his work is uneven or inadequate to his desire for its excellence, but by the fact that this ‘graph’ is not a metaphor for his life, but a merciless representation of it. It is as if his work finally unmasks itself as the log wherein recorded is the vast amount of time that he has spent at a distance from the world in which everyone else lives. This log tells him that he is not quite here.”—Something Said,by Gilbert Sorrentino

* * * * *
William Gaddis
Micheline Marcom
Kjersti Skomsvold
Gilbert Sorrentino
Gertrude Stein
Flann O'Brien
Christine Montalbetti
Viktor Shklovsky

National Literature Series

Celebrating Your Country’s Literature and Culture What is a Literature Series? A National Literature series is a long-term commitment to the partner country’s literature and culture that will ensure ongoing promotion and study of the country’s life and art. The Read on! →

Funding a Named Series

A Named Series takes two forms: Annual and Endowed. All works in a Named Series carry a dedication page and series title in the book and on the back cover, and are listed on the Press’s website and in its Read on! →

Make a donation

Contributions from private donors are the lifeline of the press, supplementing the revenue from sales and making possible the publication of new works. Donate with Paypal or credit card: You can also send a check directly to our offices: 3402 Read on! →

Funders

Since 1984, Dalkey Archive Press has made available to readers the finest works of world literature from the past 100 years. The intention of the Press is to serve as a permanent home for these works, so that they will Read on! →

The Scholarly Series

In 1992, Dalkey Archive Press at Illinois State University began its Scholarly Series with the publication of Viktor Shklovsky’s Theory of Prose. Since that time, the Press has published such distinguished critics, theorists, and scholars as Gerald L. Bruns, Leslie Read on! →

Submission Guidelines

Submissions will reopen on October 1, 2016. With this reopening, the waiting time for responses to submissions will be approximately one year. Dalkey Archive receives approximately 12,000 unsolicited manuscripts per year. We do not have the time or financial resources to Read on! →