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Chapter 42: A Glorious Evening

If you grew up reading plucky-young-girl kunstlerromans of the kind that flourished between about 1870 and 1945, you might come to the conclusion that anyone who had not published at least a handful of poems and pot-boilers by the age of eighteen was finished forever, and might as well marry a genial farmer and settle down to a life of boiling washcloths and making really excellent pastries on a budget, because Obviously You Don't Have What it Takes and if you did, Poetry magazine would obviously have taken your handwritten sonnet cycle on The Phantom of the Opera.

And by "you" in this instance, I really mean "me."

So there is that.

It's not unreasonable that stories about young artists are overwhelmingly stories about early success; I mean, who wants to read 500 pages about a Plucky Young Literary Girl who spends months diligently copying and recopying a single story, or reading Infinite Jest eleven times or taking ten years off in a misguided attempt to become a medievalist or getting a job in a law office or any of the billion other boring things that distract from and ultimately inform one's art? Single-mindedness is tidier, and occasional encouragement in the form of seed-circular publication, etc., is more satisfying for the reader than none at all. I would have liked Emily's Quest to have been twice as long and less focused on Emily's parade of suitors, and to have set the successful publication of Emily's first novel in Emily's thirties rather than her twenties, as was the case with Maud-- but that's neither here nor there. LMM was tired of the series by then, and felt an obligation to the machinery of romance, and anyway there was a war to avoid dealing with.

My point is, I'm not sure whether Evelyn's forthcoming publication in Harper's in Chapter 42 means that I am capitulating to genre conventions, making fun of them by exaggeration, or just trying to cheer the poor girl up. I suspect it's the latter.

I am making fun of Dean's rumored witnessing of the Black Mass, though. As far as I'm concerned, that one never gets old.


blase ev

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