• Refusing the Serious: Authorial Resistance in Ring Lardner's Prefaces for Scribner's

    Author(s):
    Ross Tangedal (see profile)
    Date:
    2016
    Group(s):
    LLC 20th- and 21st-Century American, LLC Late-19th- and Early-20th-Century American, TM Book History, Print Cultures, Lexicography
    Subject(s):
    American literature, Bibliography, Publishing
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    20th Century Literature, Authorship, prefaces, print culture
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6JW9G
    Abstract:
    Though already famous, wealthy, and squarely established as a popular chronicler of the early twentieth century, humorist Ring Lardner’s foray into a serious literary career with Charles Scribner’s Sons Publishing Company is best characterized as an act of authorial resistance. Rather than evolve into the “serious” author the firm had hoped for, Lardner chose to lampoon himself, authorship, publishing, and serious writers with a series of prefaces written for his Scribner’s titles. In the prefaces to How to Write Short Stories (with Samples) (1924) and The Love Nest and Other Stories (1926), Lardner resisted overtures to rebrand and remarket himself by reminding the public of his strengths: satire, comedy, and manipulation. The result: pieces as textually nonsensical and arbitrary as many of his writings on the surface, yet carefully constructed to expose the underside of socio-cultural mores, the publishing industry, and the fraternity of serious writers he never intended to join.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    7 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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