Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Childhood Diseases

The American critic Malcolm Cowley, attempting to define the so-called "Lost Generation," once drew up a list of "literary childhood diseases" which he published in Canby's Literary Review of October 25, 1921. These afflictions begin with "a bad case of Chesterton," contracted at about age sixteen; Oscar Wilde is a complication; and before the patient recovers he is "overwhelmed" by Bernard Shaw. Health is not restored until the patient has "dipped into Freud and Marx." [Hans Bal, Malcolm Cowley, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993, pp. 182-83]

1 comment:

Nick Milne said...

Well, at least he and we are united by our use of the same metaphors to describe the situation, even if he has the roles mixed up.