Thursday, August 1, 2013

Heart of the Original by Steve Aylett

Attentive Highbrow readers will recall my review of Steve Aylett's excellent novel Novahead.  Here is a new book project from Aylett, which he calls Heart of the Original:

Fine distinctions between "originality" and "novelty" are made by Edgar Allan Poe in his reviews of Nathanael Hawthorn's Twice Told Tales and Mosses from an Old Manse. In the latter review, Poe distinguishes himself in the final sentence by asserting that Ralph Waldo Emerson should be hung.  To Poe, the notion of originality is a con.  Herman Melville comes to a similar conclusion in his "discursive" treatment of the concept of originality in chapter 44 of his novel The Confidence-Man, which can be viewed by clicking HERE.  As for originality in works of art, Poe and Melville conclude that there are rather original people; that is, there are artists and writers who make us believe we are seeing something new.  A treatment of the subject of originality, including a detailed examination of the analyses offered by Poe and Melville, can be found  in my book Critical Synoptics: Menippean Satire and the Analysis of Intellectual Mythology. See the chapter entitled "Originals and their Antecedents."

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