The Pall of Fame
A writer grapples with the problem of success—including his own
Essays on Creators and Creation
by Tom Bissell
$14.00 List Price
Tom Bissell’s new essay collection, Magic Hours, opens—in what can be taken as a challenge or a gesture of self-justification—with “Unflowered Aloes,” his 2000 meditation on the tenuousness of literary immortality. Why do some works survive, Bissell asks, while others are lost to posterity? The reader may note that this is a book of previously published magazine work, rescued from the recycling bin and bound in a volume as Essays on Creators and Creation.
“Unflowered Aloes” is certainly worthy of an ISBN number. Bissell wrote it, he explains in his author’s note, as “a twenty-five year old assistant editor”—that is, a still-youthful reader who had been initiated in the hard business of publishing at W. W. Norton & Company, and who was using that knowledge to reread cultural history. Why, really, did
… full text available to registered users