25 november 2012
John Barth om romanen
The novel has its roots, very honorably, in the pop culture. The art novel notwithstanding, I think most of us novelists have a sneaking wish that we could have it both ways, as Charles Dickens did and as Gabriel García Márquez sort of does—to write novels that are both shatteringly beautiful and at the same time popular. Not to make a lot of money, but so that you can reach out and touch the hearts—no, that sounds hokey, doesn’t it? But it is what most novelists wish they could do—reach out a little bit beyond that audience of professional readers, those really devoted followers of contemporary fiction. That’s a navigational star that I confess I steer by. But I am, in fact, an amateur sailor and therefore an amateur navigator; I don’t confuse my navigational stars with my destination. No novel of mine has had that kind of popularity, and I don’t expect any novel of mine ever shall. But it’s a good piece of fortune when it happens. I think of the novel as being an essentially American genre in this way—I’m not talking about American novels, but American in a metaphorical sense: hospitable to immigrants and amateurs. My favorite literature is both of stunning literary quality and democratic of access.
Fra The Paris Review, 1985, intervju av George Plimpton.