Karl Wenclas, The CIA, The Paris Review, Ray Carver

Wenclas comments at his weblog

1.) Did the CIA give a “flying fuck” about the Paris Review? I’d say yes. After all, it was their money which created the publication!

2.) Their agenda was served by presenting an internationally credible journal (“Paris” Review) which presented a liberal– not radical– example of American literature.

Recall what the trend in American letters and American criticism had been before 1950. Socially active writing was strongly on the march.

(A better journal to look into is Partisan Review, once an organ for the likes of Philip Rahv, which in its later days became the home of neocons! How did this happen? We know that Partisan Review was another which received CIA funds.)

Raymond Carver is the perfect example of how the trend in literature, firmly in place by the 70’s, put there by the likes of Paris Review, had working class writers like Ray Carver– supposed icon of the working class– writing “minimalist” work which a Susan Minot and other trust-funders could model their own work after! Amazing, really. Working class art– but find in Carver’s published work much on the job, or unions, or strikes, or the boss, or anger. Not there. Why was this?

Missing are POLEMICS– the polemics of American writing of the Thirties and Forties.

What did I find with my own writing “career.” After I published a couple strong (albeit strongly edited) work in lit journals in the early 90’s, I had lit editors and writers telling me that literature was not supposed to be polemical.

Don’t even TRY to give me any b.s. about whether or not there were editorial policies in place.

Another case in point– NY R of Books. Mr. Silvers was a subscriber of my newsletter. At one point one of their editors was looking for writing for Granta, and wrote me. (Granta had/has the same publisher.) Strong proviso– nothing polemical. I had to tell her that left me out.

I’m kind of a living example of what happens to old-style American writers who stick to their principles. I’ve had essays and reviews published– they’ve all in one form another been gutted BY editors, of content.

What happened to Carver– even with the tame stuff he presented?

Not good enough!

And so his work was gutted some more– and this ate at him– gutted as we’ve seen with the examples so far presented.
This, my man, whoever you are, was criminal, criminal, criminal.

It was taking a talented writer and kicking him in the gut, knocking him into a hole which had been dug for him, by his publishers, then kicking him some more.


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