J.G.Ballard – ‘no great novel has been written in English since – Catch 22′

The much missed J.G.Ballard wrote back years ago after we asked him to speak at a CCS workshop on Cultural Fictions:

BAllard letter

Thank you for the invitation, but I’m afraid that age and the pressures of work mean that I have to decline.

But I wish you all the best – I’m not sure whether you see me as inside or outside s-f, and either way a victim of its overreaching success. In fact I think you’re rather stretching definitions if you include recent novels like Super-Cannes and Millennium People as s-f. But calling something s-f is a traditional way of defusing the threat, and academia, especially the Eng Lit departments, has a lot to feel threatened by – its beloved mainstream is now a parched riverbed – no great novel has been written in English since – Catch 22? – more than 40 years ago. I wonder why?

Sincerely,

JG Ballard

(transcription SF, thanks)

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Comments

  • Walton Andrew  On 14/06/2013 at 11:02

    Here is my attempt:

    Dear Dr Hutnyk

    Thank you for the kind invitation, but I’m afraid that age and the pressures of work mean that I have to decline.

    But I wish you all the best – I’m not sure whether you see me as inside or outside s.f., and either way a victim of its overarching / overreaching? success. In fact, I think you’re rather stretching definitions if you include recent novels like Super Cannes and Millennium People as s.f. but calling something s.f. is a traditional way of defusing the literal and academia, especially the English Lit department has a lot to feel threatened by – its beloved mainstream is now a parochial river bed – no great novel has been written in English since Catch 22? – more than 40 years ago. I wonder why?

    Sincerely

    J G Ballard

    Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2013 09:42:49 +0000
    To: drewish@hotmail.com

    Like

  • Walton Andrew  On 14/06/2013 at 11:04

    Here is my attempt:

    Dear Dr Hutnyk

    Thank you for the kind invitation, but I’m afraid that age and the pressures of work mean that I have to decline.

    But I wish you all the best – I’m not sure whether you see me as inside or outside s.f., and either way a victim of its overarching / overreaching? success. In fact, I think you’re rather stretching definitions if you include recent novels like Super Cannes and Millennium People as s.f. but calling something s.f. is a traditional way of defusing the literal and academia, especially the English Lit department has a lot to feel threatened by – its beloved mainstream is now a parochial river bed – no great novel has been written in English since Catch 22? – more than 40 years ago. I wonder why?

    Sincerely

    J G Ballard

    Like

    • Nyx A Noctournal  On 14/06/2013 at 12:06

      No offence to the above contribution, but there’s a few errors in it (threat not literal, not a kind invitation, overeaching, parched commas, use of + -, merger of words) and so have offered this here. DT

      17/3/06

      Dear Dr Hutnyk,

      Thank you for the invitation, but I’m afraid that age and the pressures of work mean that I have to decline.

      But I wish you all the best – I’m not sure whether you see me as inside or outside s-f, and either way a victim of its overreaching success. In fact I think you’re rather stretching definitions if you include recent novels like SuperCannes + Millennium People as s-f. But calling something s-f is a traditional way of defusing the threat, and academia, especially the Eng Lit department, has a lot to feel threatened by – its beloved mainstream is now a parched riverbed – no great novel has been written in English since – Catch 22? – more than 40 years ago. I wonder why?

      Sincerely

      JGBallard

      Like

  • john hutnyk  On 14/06/2013 at 12:14

    is it overreaching or overarching?

    Like

  • Walton Andrew  On 14/06/2013 at 14:25

    Agree with the amendments – definitely “threat” and “parched riverbed”. Funny how I inserted “kind”, without it being there. I think it is “overreaching” rather than “overarching” -thanks to DT.

    Like

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,789 other followers

%d bloggers like this: