Multilingual Farce

By

David Samuels fact checks Herman Melville down at Lapham’s Quarterly:

Who Herman Melville was and what he actually thought about anything are altogether unsatisfying questions that have never been answered in a satisfying way. This has led critics from the beginning of his literary existence to accuse him, often rightfully, of fraud. The proper answer to such criticism is that all literature is a species of fraud, in the same way that all property is theft, and every great fortune is founded on a great crime. As Cormac McCarthy once said, “The ugly fact is that books are made out of books.”


Bryan Washington has written for Puerto Del Sol, Ninth Letter, and Midnight Breakfast, among others; he's also the recipient of a Houstonia Fellowship. He lives around New Orleans. More from this author →