Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Oeuvre or Hors d'Oeuvre?

first edition cover (1977)

Do you have an oeuvre or hors d’oeuvre, derived literally from “out of the work?” For instance, you might talk of Balzac’s voluminous oeuvre, but what about his hors d’oeuvre? Joyce Carol Oates is known for being prolific, if nothing else. No sooner has she released a new tome than you're batted over the head with a poem in The New Yorker ("This is Not a Poem" was the most recent) or essay in The New York Review of Books. Where does she get the time? Does she write in her sleep and being a prehensile creature is she able to write with her feet as well as her hands? Oh don’t forget until being found out back in l987, she wrote under the pseudonyms Rosamond Smith and Lauren Kelly. Last count she had only published 58 novels, which unfortunately falls behind Stephen King at 62.  What would these authors hors d’oeuvres be like. Pigs in a blanket—as there is a certainly gluttony in their productivity—though some might write the author of The Shining, The Stand and Carrie a blank check. Words are fun and like liquor or drugs, you have those who suffer from logorrhea and become addicted to them. Are there writers who go to silent retreats where they forswear both talking and penmanship? But speaking of locutions you have the institution of the nom de plume. For instance it’s Georges Sand aka Amantine Lucille Aurore Dupin. Is Francine Prose a nom de plum? The well-known novelist’s name sure sounds like one. 

Read "The Wormhole Society" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

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