R.I.P. David Markson
David Markson died Friday in his Greenwich Village apartment. He was 82. The cause of death is not known, but he had been in poor health according to his literary agent and former wife, Elaine Markson. Sarah Weinman has a tribute at Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind.
My first post on this blog (after the obligatory People of Earth…) was a brief introduction to Mr. Markson’s work. He was one of my favorite writers and I wanted to share him with others. I plan on writing about him over the next few months.
Markson was considered a “writer’s writer,” which is usually code for “out of print.” But, all of his books remain in print and he was finally enjoying the renewed attention brought on by being named “the best writer you’ve never heard of” by New York magazine.
His cadre of fans included Ann Beattie, Amy Hempel, and David Foster Wallace who called Markson’s 1988 novel Wittgenstein’s Mistress, “pretty much the high point of experimental fiction this century.” High praise indeed for a book that was rejected 54 times!
In writing about his style, Sarah Weinman notes, “Markson writes both in a postmodern fashion, all but the barest of phrases stripped away, and in a widely expansive method to reveal a greater sum of the world around him and all of us.”
Markson called his work “novels of intellectual reference and allusion, so to speak minus much of the novel.” In one of the books, the hero declares his intentions: “A novel with no intimation of story whatsoever …/And with no characters. None …/Plotless. Characterless/Yet seducing the reader into turning the pages nonetheless …/with a beginning, a middle and an end/Even with a note of sadness at the end.”
Old. Tired. Sick. Alone. Broke.
The old man who will not laugh is a fool.
Als ik kan.