American Men of Letters?

American Men of Letters?

Alfred A Knopf have posted a Facebook page, laughingly entitled American Men of Letters. I say laughingly as if their five American Men of Letters (they presumably mean United States) are the best they can do, God help US letters. They have done it in, to use a US expression, a half-assed way with a feeble Facebook page. They have also done it to celebrate the release of James Salter’s new book. I must confess that I have never read James Salter. Nor have many other people, if Slate is to be believed . In addition to Salter, they offer us the massively overrated penis-obsessed Philip Roth, Richard Ford (another overrated writer for men with small penises), Richard Russo, highly enjoyable, a pretty good writer but certainly not one of the great men of letters and John Cheever, another overrated writer. We may perhaps ignore the fact that these men are all very old and long since past the best, if they ever had a best. We might also ignore the fact that Knopf seems fit to honour men but ignores the many fine women writers in the United States. But these five as their greats? Norman Mailer will be turning in his grave.