The Great American Novel (Green Integer)
For me, my tenuous grasp of American Literature, narrow that it might be, is limited. I know the name. I have the author’s epic work on my shelf. The opening passages to this novel, William Carlos Willliams’ The Great American Novel so aptly describe what it is like — 100 years after publication. Different yet the same?
“I sit so on my bicycle and look at you greyly, dimpling because it is September and I am older than I was.” Page 7.
Just because it’s how I work? The author was Virgo, a September birthdate. Not that it matters, but then in some understanding, it does hold meaning. He was a practicing pediatrician and poet. However, this “novel” appeared much earlier.
Any “beat” poet — the current iterations, millennial and younger — there’s a great debt owed to the beats and even then, to roots like this.
For me, I needed a break from too much mainstream, thriller, action fiction. The notion that that William Carlos Williams was known as a poet, the early work exhibits that prose that reads with a kind of lilt to it.
“I am an American. A United Stateser. Yes its ugly, there is no word to say it better.” Page 35.
“The Spanish are the only people in Europe whom civilization has not ruined.” Page 64.
Strange, carefully crafted stream-of-conscience novel. Short. Easy?
Made me look up my old copy of “Paterson,” the epic cantos.
The Great American Novel
Also available from Gutenberg.org.