19 May 2006

gilbert sorrentino 1929-2006

Gilbert Sorrentino died yesterday, at 77, in a New York hospital. For those who are unfamiliar with his writing, the Center for Book Culture has a good overview here and Gerald Howard an intelligent profile here. For those who know his work, you know we've just lost one of the giants in the world of comic innovative fiction. Mulligan Stew, the embodiment of Bakhtin's notion of the novel as polyphony, changed the way I thought about how fiction could be structured, and the book's carnivalesque delight in language, irony, and self-conscious textuality taught me back in graduate school, where I first came across it, that work can and should always attempt to be more extreme.