Even though I did not fall in love with writing until I was 19, I always loved…
It’s hard to underestimate the damage Joyce did to the novel. So many difficult books, for so many years. The list of victims is long – from John Dos Passos to Malcolm Lowry, John Barth and Gilbert Sorrentino, and that’s just in English. I came to the cult late but it still took me a decade after college to free myself – my (unpublished, unpublishable) first novel has an entire chapter written in stream-of-consciousness interspersed with the lingo of short-order cooks (really). The writing isn’t terrible, it’s just more trouble than it’s worth.
I did everything short of selling a kidney to get out of the “major author” prerequisite necessary to graduate from Georgetown with a bachelor’s in English literature, but after suffering through Shakespeare, I had no choice but to submit to a dourer DWEM. Lucky thing, because Milton turned out to be the best class I took in college, and Paradise Lost superior, in my view, to anything composed by the more-celebrated Stratford-upon-Avon Bard.