That American writers prefer the past to the present: the bulk of the novels I read were historical fictions, many of them based on real people. While I enjoyed reading about Woody Guthrie, Florence Nightengale, Errol Flynn, Rilke, Hitler, Byron, Pocahontas, Stephen Crane, Edward Curtis and William Blake, among others, I wondered why…why rely on the known instead of the invented? Some novels even recycled fictional characters: Huck Finn’s father, Gregor Samsa. My conclusion: it’s easier for novelists because this way they know the end.More evidence?
Do "American writers prefer the past to the present"?
So says Molly Gilles, a critic and writer and teacher, in describing what she learned as a judge for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Among the lessons: