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On nationalism

January 12, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The ever-quotable Jim Harrison on the problem of a national literature:

I’m not a nationalist. I don’t want to hear about American literature. It’s world literature. And all this sniping about who’s good in America is nonsense when you’ve got Gunter Grass, and Gabriel Màrquez. Who is good is who is good wherever they are.

Search for “American”; replace with “Canadian.” Whaddaya know — certain truths are universal.

Categories: jim harrison, writing
  1. January 12, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Harrison is being more snippy than wise here, although he is an excellent writer. Despite the existence of a global culture, there will continue to be very strong strains of national character and history in global literature for generations to come. And generations from now, once a global hegemony has secured itself, it will be considered brilliant, a near unsurpassable critical skill, to be able to tease out these lines of influence from the past. Funny how that works.

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