In an interview with French paper La Croix, Engdahl said that the “professionalisation” of the job of the writer, via grants and financial support, was having a negative effect on literature. “Even though I understand the temptation, I think it cuts writers off from society, and creates an unhealthy link with institutions,” he told La Croix. “Previously, writers would work as taxi drivers, clerks, secretaries and waiters to make a living. Samuel Beckett and many others lived like this. It was hard – but they fed themselves, from a literary perspective.”
Engdahl, who together with his fellow members of the 18-strong academy is preparing to select the winner of this year’s Nobel literature award, and announce the choice on Thursday, 9 October, said it was on “our western side that there is a problem, because when reading many writers from Asia and Africa, one finds a certain liberty again”.
Even though the Iowa Writers’ Workshop made for two of the best years of my life, I agree with his criticism:
“[The system of academic grants] cuts writers off from society, and creates an unhealthy link with institutions.”
If you don’t have exposure to the market, you don’t have exposure to the real world. The problem is probably exacerbated by academia’s religious devotion to errant ideologies.
“Every man who does not have a trade must eventually become a rogue” ~ Baruch Spinoza
“…as a practitioner, my thinking is rooted in the belief that you cannot go from books to problems, but the reverse, from problems to books.” ~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb
” Learn a trade so that you experience the real world. Identify a problem that exists in the real world. . . . Otherwise you invent a mystical hammer and go on and endless search for the appropriate nails – which you seem to find all over the place.” ~ Curt Doolittle