Pg. 296 of David Markson’s copy of Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald:
     On which Markson put a bracket around a letter that Francis Scott Fitzgerald sent to his daughter Frances Scott Fitzgerald:     “I wonder if you’ve read anything this summer—I mean any one good book like The Brothers Karamazov or Ten Days That Shook the World or Renan’s Life of Christ.  You never speak of your reading except the excerpts you do in college,  the little short bits that they must perforce give you. I know you have  read a few of the books I gave you last summer—then I have heard nothing  from you on the subject. Have you ever, for example, read Pere Goriot or Crime and Punishment or even The Doll’s House or St. Matthew or Sons and Lovers? A good style simply doesn’t form unless you absorb half a dozen top-flight authors every year. Or rather  it forms but instead of being a subconscious amalgam of all that you  have admired, it is simply a reflection of the last writer you have  read, a watered-down journalese.”
—-
     I absolutely love those last two lines:     “A good style simply doesn’t form unless you absorb half a dozen top-flight authors every year. Or rather  it forms but instead of being a subconscious amalgam of all that you  have admired, it is simply a reflection of the last writer you have  read, a watered-down journalese.”
     Great wisdom to impart to your daughter. And to your readers, by way of Crack-Up.
     It is also interesting to know what books Fitzgerald suggests to his daughter.     Ones mentioned in the above letter:     The Brothers Karamazov     Ten Days That Shook the World     Life of Christ     Père Goriot     Crime and Punishment     The Doll’s House     St. Matthew     Sons and Lovers
     A similar letter from Markson to his daughter Johanna, which I was able to get a sneak peak of at the Markson Memorial last year, speaks of novels he recommends she read.     It says:     “Dear Johanna—     I can’t make you a list of my 100—or even 50—top 20th-Century novels. It would take me a  month.     Instead here are just some of those that have meant the most to me—or which I’ve truly enjoyed. (I take them from a list I’ve actually scribbled into the back of an old Faulkner novel + added to over the years—though the original includes some older stuff—Dostoievsky, etc.—that I’ll leave out.) These are not in any special order.                                                                                          xxx Dad     Joyce - Ulysses                 Finnegans Wake     Lowry - Under the Volcano     Gaddis - The Recognitions     Djuna Barnes - Nightwood     Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises     West - Miss Lonelyhearts     Cary - The Horse’s Mouth     Camus - The Stranger     Barth - The Sot-Weed Factor     Grass - The Tin Drum     Duras - The Lover     Carpentier - The Lost Steps     Faulkner - Light in August                      The Sound + the Fury                      Absalom, Absalom                      As I Lay Dying     Beckett - Malloy                    Malone Dies                    The Unnamable     Hesse - Steppenwolf                 Magister Ludi     Celine - Journey to the End of the Night                  Death on the Installment Plan     Donleavy - The Ginger Man     Rhys - Good Morning, Midnight     Rushdie - Midnight’s Children     Conrad - Lord Jim                    Heart of Darkness                    The Secret Agent     PS—You’ll notice that Salman’s is the only one less than 20 yrs. old, alas. Forgive.”
     A good style simply doesn’t form unless you absorb half a dozen  top-flight authors every year. Or rather  it forms but instead of being  a subconscious amalgam of all that you  have admired, it is simply a  reflection of the last writer you have  read, a watered-down  journalese.
     The epigraph of the first book in Markson’s tetralogy, Reader’s Block:     “First and foremost, I think of myself as a reader.”
     “I have characters sitting alone in a bedroom with a head full of everything he’s ever read.”     Markson explained of his tetralogy in his portable-infinite interview.

     Pg. 296 of David Markson’s copy of Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald:

     On which Markson put a bracket around a letter that Francis Scott Fitzgerald sent to his daughter Frances Scott Fitzgerald:
     “I wonder if you’ve read anything this summer—I mean any one good book like The Brothers Karamazov or Ten Days That Shook the World or Renan’s Life of Christ. You never speak of your reading except the excerpts you do in college, the little short bits that they must perforce give you. I know you have read a few of the books I gave you last summer—then I have heard nothing from you on the subject. Have you ever, for example, read Pere Goriot or Crime and Punishment or even The Doll’s House or St. Matthew or Sons and Lovers? A good style simply doesn’t form unless you absorb half a dozen top-flight authors every year. Or rather it forms but instead of being a subconscious amalgam of all that you have admired, it is simply a reflection of the last writer you have read, a watered-down journalese.”

—-

     I absolutely love those last two lines:
     “A good style simply doesn’t form unless you absorb half a dozen top-flight authors every year. Or rather it forms but instead of being a subconscious amalgam of all that you have admired, it is simply a reflection of the last writer you have read, a watered-down journalese.”

     Great wisdom to impart to your daughter. And to your readers, by way of Crack-Up.

     It is also interesting to know what books Fitzgerald suggests to his daughter.
     Ones mentioned in the above letter:
     The Brothers Karamazov
     Ten Days That Shook the World
     Life of Christ
     Père Goriot
     Crime and Punishment
     The Doll’s House
     St. Matthew
     Sons and Lovers

     A similar letter from Markson to his daughter Johanna, which I was able to get a sneak peak of at the Markson Memorial last year, speaks of novels he recommends she read.
     It says:
     “Dear Johanna—
     I can’t make you a list of my 100—or even 50—top 20th-Century novels. It would take me a  month.
     Instead here are just some of those that have meant the most to me—or which I’ve truly enjoyed. (I take them from a list I’ve actually scribbled into the back of an old Faulkner novel + added to over the years—though the original includes some older stuff—Dostoievsky, etc.—that I’ll leave out.) These are not in any special order.
                                                                                          xxx Dad
     Joyce - Ulysses
                 Finnegans Wake
     Lowry - Under the Volcano
     Gaddis - The Recognitions
     Djuna Barnes - Nightwood
     Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises
     West - Miss Lonelyhearts
     Cary - The Horse’s Mouth
     Camus - The Stranger
     Barth - The Sot-Weed Factor
     Grass - The Tin Drum
     Duras - The Lover
     Carpentier - The Lost Steps
     Faulkner - Light in August
                      The Sound + the Fury
                      Absalom, Absalom
                      As I Lay Dying
     Beckett - Malloy
                    Malone Dies
                    The Unnamable
     Hesse - Steppenwolf
                 Magister Ludi
     Celine - Journey to the End of the Night
                  Death on the Installment Plan
     Donleavy - The Ginger Man
     Rhys - Good Morning, Midnight
     Rushdie - Midnight’s Children
     Conrad - Lord Jim
                    Heart of Darkness
                    The Secret Agent
     PS—You’ll notice that Salman’s is the only one less than 20 yrs. old, alas. Forgive.”

     A good style simply doesn’t form unless you absorb half a dozen top-flight authors every year. Or rather it forms but instead of being a subconscious amalgam of all that you have admired, it is simply a reflection of the last writer you have read, a watered-down journalese.

     The epigraph of the first book in Markson’s tetralogy, Reader’s Block:
     “First and foremost, I think of myself as a reader.”

     “I have characters sitting alone in a bedroom with a head full of everything he’s ever read.
     Markson explained of his tetralogy in his portable-infinite interview.

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