The 200-year-old avant-garde


Phillip Lopate. Photograph by Jill Krementz

When I went to college, I was surrounded by people who were interested in William Burroughs, John Ashbery, Beckett and post-Beckett. The whole sensibility was, “Beckett has done this, now how can we advance his heroic move?” I thought, “Well, maybe I’ll read Henry Fielding.” If I need to experience avant‑garde, I’ll read Don Quixote or Tristram Shandy.  –Philip Lopate in Harper’s

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