On the Rules of Literary Fiction for Men and Women

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Novelist Ru Freeman (On Sal Mal Lane) posted an excerpt on her Facebook page today from author Meg Wolitzer’s legendary New York Times essay, “The Second Shelf,” originally published on March 30, 2012. Here’s the excerpt Freeman chose:

“…does the marketplace subtly and paradoxically seem to whisper in some men’s ears, “Sure, buddy, run on as long as you like, just sit down and type out all your ideas about America” — what might in some extreme cases be titled “The Big Baggy Book of Me”? Do women reflexively edit themselves (or let themselves be edited) more severely, creating tight and shapely novels that readers and book groups will find approachable? Or do they simply not fetishize book length one way or the other? (And for that matter, would most long-form men say they were just letting content seek form?)”

If you haven’t read the essay by Wolitzer (The Interestings), it’s a must-read.



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