MCCRUM! Stop! You have breached the terms of the ceasefire!

hello I am just dropping by say that I am thinking about running some kind of competition. There will be a big special prize and all you have to do is tell me what this Robert McCrum article is about.

I mean it looks like it might be about literary careers, but i swear I cannot make it mean a thing – precis is roughly: ‘Writers! some have short careers, some have long ones. Ebooks. There’s a thing. Writers. Sometimes, a character appears in more than one book. space to fill space to fill dictionary of quotations? Wilde.’

Strange paragraph on Yeats:

Every writer has to reconcile life and work. “My life has been in my poems,” Yeats confessed in a letter to a friend. “I have seen others enjoying, while I stood alone with myself – commenting, commenting – a mere dead mirror on which things repeat themselves.” [Letter, 1888] Elsewhere, Yeats wrote that a writer has to choose “perfection of the life, or of the work”. Every great artist who is obliged to confront that choice will come up with a different response.

i) 1888, so Yeats was 23. When 23-year-olds say stuff like that it’s just posing – even/especially when it’s Yeats.

ii) Yeats didn’t say a writer has to choose p of the life or of the work; he says the ‘intellect of man’ is forced to choose between them. I mean yes ‘writers’ are a subset of ‘man’, but he’s not making a rueful reflection on the literary life; it’s how we live, the cost of achievement, tragedy of choice etc.

I shouldn’t really post just to snark but I found this column baffling. Why was he allowed to write this? Book sections are in danger & you’re spending a half-page on this? You’d spike that shit in a second if it wasn’t an ex-ed.

by the way, I’ve taken to Google+, so yknow stick me in a circle if you’re on there. (though I may leave if they don’t calm the fuck down about the ‘give us real name, that you use in your everyday life, while out shopping say’ stuff.)