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  •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, Brecht

    Goddamn it to fucking hell. Sorry, this isn't directed at you at all. Just at however thought it was a good idea to make the backspace key a "back page and lose paragraphs of response" key for internet browsers, which is the most singularly dumb function I've ever encountered.

    Sigh.

    Let me start this point by point response all over again then.

    1. You can make up parts of this kind of story. Especially if you've heard so many tales of the war and seen some of it going on around you, like, oh...Kosinski did. Regardless of whether he actually grew up in an unstable or harsh childhood as depicted in the book (and it might not necessarily have been stable and unencumbered either, the only real evidence we have on that matter comes from easily forged materials from anti-Kosinski communists in Poland), Kosinski grew up in the midst of the war. He had to hide his identity, fear capture, fear parts of himself, he had to witness horrors, hear stories from adults and kids (the kinds of stories that could become scenes in this novel with a talented literary author's hand), and then he had to feel the immense guilt, the personal shame that he, perhaps, had it easy compared to them, and this would indeed explain why it was initially so tempting for him to let people assume or suggest that this story was his own. To return to one last point, Kosinski would have encountered many more people going to college, and heard their stories of childhoods in the war years, so to claim that The Painted Bird is all a rip from Roman Polanski is ridiculous.

    2. No. We don't have ANY evidence on this that is acceptable. Quit making the claim. All that we have are "claims" from people who say they did this but have not a shred of tangible evidence to back them up, and have been rebuked by editors, Kosinski, and publishing houses and close friends of Kosinski. But, what we do know, is that Kosinski was huge on feedback. He would send out drafts of his chapters to dozens of friends and editors, asking for extensive feedback, and he would make large cuts and go through numerous rewrites to capture the polished alienated style he wanted in English.

    3. A lot of writers fizzle out after a very promising introduction to their careers. A lot of writers fail to ever really acheive a new voice or a new type of protagonist. Most of Hemingway's career falls under this category for me. Sometimes initial success in too great a quantity even makes an author lazy and complacent, as could have happened as well. In the case of Kosinski, we'll never know because as a person and as a writer he was pretty destroyed and devestated by insensitive claims and personal attacks levied at him and his work, first by the Village Voice, and then, suddenly, by an entire clique eager to turn against someone. It was pathetic, and it eventually led to him killing himself (there are questions over whether he had any real health problems at the time, as he used as his excuse for killing himself), and stunted him at a point when he might have gone on to accomplish new and different works.

    Anyway, I hope you find this helping in getting where I am coming from.

    "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

    by ArkDem14 on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 08:23:10 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  nah, i'm not buying it (0+ / 0-)


      and I'm afraid neither did most of his then-fans.  He was a deeply troubled, and very inauthentic person.  But thanks for bringing up one of the more interesting topics I've seen this week!  cheers.

      "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

      by louisev on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 05:01:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've read Maus (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        I did my thesis on Holocaust literature. Many survivors of WWII were deeply inauthentic people. Liars, borderlines, and traumatized people are. There's an entire body of literature on their pyschology and how this impacts their lives and mental states, and it created an entirely new critical theory for dealing with "Trauma Fiction". I don't think you or any other fans had any right or sufficient knowledge to judge Kosinski as an inauthentic person, or to take that judgment and apply it willy-nilly to everything he ever wrote.

        Your flippant statement in response to a very carefully written response that summarily and logically pointed out the flaws in every single stage of assumption and argument that you made, is about what I expected, but still pretty irritating.

        "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

        by ArkDem14 on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 10:28:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "to judge Kosinski as an inauthentic person"? (0+ / 0-)

          There are two quite distinct levels of authenticity to consider: The artist's work, and his public persona.

          The biographical claims and counterclaims are hard to judge clearly. I like this article, which looks particularly at the evidence of the texts themselves:

          I find Kosinski's novels to be stylistically similar. The prose is detached, flat, terse, and it has an emotional remoteness that is unique. The voice of the novels comes across as that of one person.
          I've only read Being There myself. But Routh's verdict fits what I've read others say of Kosinski's work. If so, then the art is authentic, and was woven (from disparate sources, including his own experience and imagination) by one man.

          In the wikipedia article on The Painted Bird, one quote struck me, as it provides a plausible engine behind much of the confusion about Kosinski, and how he created his famous self, and how he collapsed under the onslaught of his credibility:

          "This theory explains much: the reckless driving, the abuse of small dogs, the thirst for fame, the fabrication of personal experience, the secretiveness about how he wrote, the denial of his Jewish identity. 'There was a hollow space at the center of Kosiński that had resulted from denying his past,' Sloan writes, 'and his whole life had become a race to fill in that hollow space before it caused him to implode, collapsing inward upon himself like a burnt-out star.' On this theory, Kosiński emerges as a classic borderline personality, frantically defending himself against… all-out psychosis.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 11:36:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't like how he put that (0+ / 0-)

            but not entirely incorrect.

            "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

            by ArkDem14 on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 02:17:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It doesn't so much make Kosinski inauthentic - (0+ / 0-)

              at least not as an artist, for such whirling hungers can drive creativity - as it helps explain why his personality felt larger-than-life, pushy, exaggerated. And why some critics who had met him, and felt that self-promotion (and his fortunate marriage and career), might resent it, and rip it apart in public.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 07:11:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, thanks also for the shout out, and for yet (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ArkDem14, mettle fatigue

              another diary full of compelling books, and thought-provoking angles on them. You always teach me things and get me thinking, and I enjoy your diaries very much.

              I want you to write a bi-monthly series, and look forward to it. Until you start doing that, you're very welcome to keep using the first Books Go Boom! of the month as your platform.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 07:15:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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