Monday, April 30, 2007

Novel word

Julian Gough, in a great essay on the modern novel, uses a cracking word I’ve not seen before.

He’s lamenting the way that university creative writing courses actually kill creativity by institutionalising it, and how graduates of these courses tend to focus their writing on the banality of their own academic lives. And he says this:

“Much of their fiction contains not so much tragedy as mere anxiety. Pushed to look for tragedy in lives that contain none, to generate suffering in order to be proper writers, they force themselves to frown rather than smile; and their work fills with a self-indulgent anxiety that could perhaps best be called ‘wangst.’”

4 comments:

Rev. Dr. Incitatus said...
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Rev. Dr. Incitatus said...

"Much of their fiction contains not so much tragedy as mere anxiety. Pushed to look for tragedy in lives that contain none, to generate suffering in order to be proper writers, they force themselves to frown rather than smile; and their work fills with a self-indulgent anxiety that could perhaps best be called ‘wangst.’"

I'm sending this quote to our original theatre company's art director. At the last committee meeting the bugger was complaining that none of his writers were dealing with 'personal issues', apparently alluding to the fact that none of us chooses to bleed all over the stage with our neuroses. I laughed and told him to shut the hell up; he's getting nothing but pirates, killer hamsters and dragons this season, and he's gonna damn well like it.

Well, maybe I didn't put it quite like that...

But I like the word "wangst". That sums that kind of material up just right.

9:09 PM, April 30, 2007
Delete

The Barefoot Bum said...

Maybe we should call the waaaaambulance. :-D

tony said...

Gore Vidal's essays "hacks of Academe" and others are still definitive in trashing university "wangst" lit. - But what a great coinage!