Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Ideal Reader

At the risk of being an Orhan Pamuk bore, thought I'd post my link to yet another article written by the author recently. I think it is extremely relevant because it addresses the question of "Who do you write for?" which is one which writers here must also ask themselves.

Pamuk's article In Defence of the Ideal Reader appeared in the Age a few days ago, and is well worth reading in full. Here's just a snip of it:
Writers write for their ideal reader, for their loved ones, for themselves or for no one. All this is true. But it is also true that today's literary writers also write for those who read them. So the needling questions and suspicion about these writers' true intentions reflect a disquiet about the cultural order that has come into being.

The people who find it most disturbing are the representatives of non-Western nations and their cultural institutions. Crisis-ridden non-Western states that are anxious about national identity - and reluctant to face up to the black marks in their histories - are suspicious of novelists who view history and nationalism from a non-national perspective.

In their view, novelists who do not write for national audiences are exoticising that country for "foreign consumption" and inventing problems that have no basis in reality.

There is a parallel suspicion in the West, where many readers believe that local literatures should remain pure and true to their national roots: Their secret fear is that a writer who addresses an international readership and draws from traditions outside his own culture will lose his authenticity.
Related Posts

Who Do You Write For? (11/4/06)


Fairul Nizam said...

Hello Sharon.

Wow. Nice header you got there. Kawaii.

I've been offline for quite a while now, and this is the first time I see your new layout.


The Great Swifty said...

Yeah, kinda like why when I write or make my films, I usually don't attempt to bring in the time period or settings, rather have something more universal and can be taken place anyway. Otherwise I can just be a generic boring filmmaker gains undeserved universal acclaim solely for portraying his own 'exotic' culture from his country of origin.

So yeah, I'm not a fan of people 'exoticiziing' their own cultures for their artistic works.

Oh, and here's a Haruki Murakami article by Justin and I. Be, er, prepared, it ain't pretty :)

Alex Tang said...

Hi Sharon,

I guess for many of us, as we put ink to paper or type into our word processor, we have a message that we feel strong about. Some of us may have the intention to 'exoticize' our own cultures. I susupect most of us write for ourselves. Writing as a form of self conversation.

Sometimes, we are pleasantly surprised when others join in our conversations.

madcap machinist said...

I read somewhere that Orhan Pamuk said in an interview that boys where he came from "wanted to grow up to be poets. You have to write bad poetry to write a good novel."

... or words to that effect.

How inspiring. :-|

bibliobibuli said...

fairul nizam - many thanks. hope you had a good holiday

swifty - it's probably a difficult line to walk though for many writers/filmakers ...

alex - like what you say about others surprising us by joining in our conversations ...

machinist - quite amazing to have kids wanting to grow up to be poets ...