Feuds welcome. The Christian-artists-versus-Christian-audience is definitely the thorniest, saddest feud that has been borne out over history. But I don’t know if it should be avoided, since I don’t think that Christians should create only house-trained work. Certainly, we need to be in the church and love her, but we shouldn’t be only its stooge. Untamed Christian vision for artists, the way Christ and His apostles modeled?
And in the spirit of feuds, as generously as we talk to each other, I can’t disagree more with the example of Wolfe as a propulsive force in American letters. Your mention of Pynchon is instructive: his work transformed fiction without the resort to publicity and gossip-mongering. Wolfe (from both Bonfire of the Vanities and I Am Charlotte Simmons) is too tabloid-ish and overwrought in his fiction - too much like the crudest instincts of the American public, too thrilled to give us heaping helpings of what we want at our worst. As to the feud, which is enthralling the way gossip can be: he didn’t challenge the leading lights of the literary world (Pynchon, Roth, Ishiguro, Heaney, DeLillo, to name several other male writers alive and famous at the time), he only challenged those who had slighted him. Irving and Mailer were hardly the best of their generation. That to me seems more like score-settling and bickering than advancement.
where dos the dobrenko v sowden feud fall here?
I think debates about aesthetics are vitally important. Unfortunately, they always seem to devolve into "lol there are no rules in art I can do whatever I want thx". Nobody wants to engage seriously with foundational issues. For example --
I couldn't possibly love this more: Paglia on Sontag, "she's dull, she's boring, she knows nothing about contemporary culture, she's not a very good writer anymore,"
Also just generally a good post about types of literary feuds
I suppose it has become a tradition, of sorts. Philosophers were always taking shots at each other too.