Monday, June 29, 2009

Jonathan Littell on Privacy

Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones (his big French novel about a former SS officer) recently won the Athens Prize for Literature. In lieu of accepting the prize in person, Littell sent a letter addressed "To the Jury of the Athens Prize for Literature." Here's an excerpt (in an English translation):

It has always been my view that literature is a very private matter now, and that what takes place between a writer and his work belongs to a sphere utterly separate from the interaction of that work with those who read it, comment it, praise it or damn it. Privacy, for me, is a fundamental condition of creation, of work. It was so before my book was published, and must remain so now. It is in this spirit that I express my hope that my inability to join you today will be taken for what it is, an expression of our common love for literature.

Read the full letter in English at Literary Saloon.

1 comment:

Lit and Life said...

That certainly flies in the face of the trend for authors to be everywhere in an effort to sell books.