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By Lydia Davis

The thirty-four tales during this seminal assortment powerfully show what became Lydia Davis's trademarks—dexterity, brevity, understatement, and shock. even supposing the understanding of her prose indicates a global of virtually medical cause and readability, her characters express us that lifestyles, concept, and language are filled with disorder.

Break It Down is Davis at her top. within the phrases of Jonathan Franzen, she is "a magician of self-consciousness."

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Despite the professional and personal disagreements that the three would experience in later years, they all shared the belief that writing needed to be revolutionized and that they were the ones to bring about this revolution. But if the relationship of these three writers in Intercultural Readings 21 Paris was the forge in which they shaped their unique literary voices, the symbolic fire that fuelled it was Dostoevsky. Miller wrote many times that before encountering Dostoevsky – ‘the god, the real one’48 – he felt disenfranchised and alienated in the America of the 1910s and 1920s (a society he regarded as being concerned solely with economic progress and social conformity) and that in Dostoevsky he finally found a kindred spirit who started him on the road to becoming a writer.

50 This is a just observation, with one important addition: while a study of this kind rarely provides major new insights into the life and work of Dostoevsky, it certainly provides new and vital insights into ‘Dostoevsky’ – the constructed total image of the writer and his body of work as it exists in the cultural milieu in which the specific readings of Dostoevsky are enacted. A study of the Villa Seurat group’s reading of Dostoevsky is important on several different levels. First, it allows us a close look into the mind and work of Henry Miller, a fascinating and influential writer, whose Tropic of Cancer was included in the Modern Library’s list of the most important books of the twentieth century, and, to a lesser extent, into the work of Nin and Durrell, two writers who made their own independent marks on twentieth-century literature.

It was because Dostoevsky achieved the very peak of what could be done in literature that he had to be studied so closely: he was the gateway for the next stage, which was none other than a revolution in prose narrative. Through an in-depth reading of Dostoevsky’s work, an intimate knowledge of his characters, and constant meditation on his achievements, one could break through to a new kind of writing. This new prose could be called transliterary 22 The Making of a Counter-Culture Icon in the sense that it would be liberated from the literary constraints and conventions that characterized even such great literary achievements as Dostoevsky’s novels (proper plot, three-dimensional characters, clearly defined provenance as fiction, cohesive text) but that no longer sufficed to reflect twentieth-century reality.

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