richard russo’s in defense of omniscience

4 thoughts on “richard russo’s in defense of omniscience”

  1. I want to read this too, but just from these initial notes, if I’m understanding correctly, it does bother me when people (meaning not you, but the guy you are reading) make judgments as to what is “mature” in writing and what’s not. Reminds me of the debates in academia regarding personal essays “vs.” analytical essays. Again, I may be misinterpreting what is being said, and maybe I’m just too naive, but I don’t like that we have to pit one type of writing style against another type. I think writers have to find the voice that they believe is working the most strongly for what they are writing at the time, the voice that allows them the most authority and potential for taking risks.

    1. I should’ve probably done a better job at summary and classification but hard to be thorough typing on phone. Russo did title it defense of omniscience and also gives many anecdotes of young writers in undergrad workshop who don’t consider omniscience because too dificult or too old fashioned.

  2. It’s been forever since I read Russo’s essay, and really most of what I remember of it is Katy defending it mightily in a workshop.

    Anyway, Michael Cunningham does something really interesting in By Nightfall, and I wish I would have asked him about it instead of drooling and acting like a bumbling idiot when I saw him in Oct. His novel stays mostly in close third, but then the camera pans out to omniscient and then he moves to first person in very brief but important parts. He pulls it off quite well, but I still can’t figure out how–or why–he did it.

    p.s. It’s snowing on your blog.

    1. Looks like another novel I should read. Thanks, Kim. Reminds me of this interview I watched of Joan Didion on Play It as It Lays where she discusses the first person introductions of her characters. I like to return to third person to give me some kind of a conscious anchor and I think Russo says something like that.

      Oh and the snow is the sign of a Festivus miracle.

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