09 September 2009

Dear Library of America...

Oh, Library of America, you know I love you. You have parted me and my money more times than I would care to admit. I love you for your Bowles and your Lovecraft and Du Bois and Thoreau and Douglass, your O'Connor and Baldwin, your Ashbery and Crane, your Porter and Powell, your Singer and Singer and Singer, your movie critics and poetries, your civil rights and revolution. I am currently enraptured with your Carver. I am eagerly (too weak a word!) awaiting your Fantastic Tales. And I don't say this to just anyone, but I cherish your Dick.

I love other things, too, Library of America. (I am polyamorous in my bibliophilia.) I love, for instance, the short stories of Donald Barthelme. And I love the recent biography of Donald Barthelme, Hiding Man by Tracy Daugherty.

So dearest Library of America, imagine what I felt when I read these words from an interview with Mr. Daugherty:
I believe there was some talk, years ago, of trying to get a Library of America collection of Don's fiction into print -- chronologically, the way it first appeared. My understanding is that Edward Hirsch and Susan Sontag tried to make this happen, and I'm not sure why it didn't go forward.
Ohhhh, Library of America! Howl! Moan! It's been a few years now since last I suggested anything to you, and while you didn't take up my brilliant recommendations then, perhaps now you will hear my cry -- don't abandon Barthelme! You've done great things for Carver and Cheever, who both surely deserved them, and who brought wonders to the American short story, but Barthelme is the perfect addition to that crew, a man who helped bring the short story in the U.S. toward new forms and frontiers, and who made us laugh while doing so.

Don't make me resort to threats, Library of America. Remember what happened to Colby.

2 comments:

  1. Huh. Library of America--"America's best and most significant writing"--and nothing at all by R. A. Lafferty?

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  2. I had the same reaction when I read the same interview, so consider me the first to sign your Barthelme petition.

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