David Markson has died.

6 06 2010

David Markson has died at the age of 83. He is the author of Wittgenstein’s Mistress, This Is Not A Novel, and many others, and he invented what he referred to as a “personal genre.” His later novels have little or nothing in the way of conventional plot; rather, they feature the meandering thought-voice of a knowledgeable, reflective, very human narrator, whether a character (as in Wittgenstein’s Mistress) or someone called Author or Writer or Novelist. These books were composed in short paragraphs, moving with esoteric logic from one thought to the next, often concerning the tragicomic ephemera of artists’ lives, quotes and trivia and biographical information—Markson described it as “nonlinear, discontinuous, collage-like, an assemblage.” He is a classic example of the underappreciated author.

Markson corresponded with and later met and befriended Malcolm Lowry, author of Under the Volcano, about whom Markson wrote a critical study.

He said he could always reread Ulysses, even in his old age, after his enthusiasm for all his other favorite books, such as The Recognitions, had begun to flag.

There’s a wonderful radio interview with David Markson, conducted by Michael Silverblatt, that can be heard here.

I wonder when people I admire die, does “Rest In Peace” feel “right” to me, does it seem to have meaning? It has Catholic origins, and it has meant other things to other people, but I like the words themselves, so maybe I will use them in my way.

Rest In Peace David Markson

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