The Corner

Re: Politics and Prose

Jonah: It must surely be the case that, ceteris paribus, a right-wing

writer must produce better prose than a left-wing writer. After all, we

have a better grip on reality than they do. You need to put so many

qualifications on that statement, though, that it disappears under them.

Philip Roth, for example, is a very good writer, in my opinion, though I

doubt I have any point of political agreement with him at all. And then

there are those Leftist writers from past decades who might or might not

have been Left if they had lived in our time: Orwell, obviously, and

Sinclair Lewis, as I argued once on this site. With

verse, which depends less on the reality principle for its effectiveness,

there seems to be no correlation at all: Shelley was a rabid Lefty, and so

was the younger Wordsworth…

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