Why Ayn Rand Wouldn't Find a Literary Agent Today: My Critique of Contemporary Literature (Oh, And JM Keynes)

Mark Hubbard's picture
Submitted by Mark Hubbard on Tue, 2014-12-02 22:17


I left Lindsay’s generous blogging umbrella roughly two years ago to try and gain a profile of my own from which to maybe market a novel (still in progress). If my blog was heading for a particular place, then it’s my recent post on the state of contemporary English literature, which on the way answers why Ayn Rand most probably wouldn’t find an agent today, let alone a publisher. There are several footnotes back to SOLO.

 At over 18,000 words it’s too big to cross post, so I’ve simply put up a link at the end of this post. It’s easy to get the gist of the piece from the following quotation:

 … Be warned this ramble comes with several severe weather advisories, the first being the timid will want to take a wide berth: my views are often to an Eliot-esque Wasteland of content, with my memory cast to a pastiche of the past, and hope dwindling into the future. Or as I'm soon to say:

 State funding of the arts is leading to the stultification of western literature under the reactionary establishment of Left-Liberalism, also called Progressivism, which has largely captured the means of production via the agents and publishers, and quietly indoctrinates the authors toward a homogenised literature via creative writing courses in progressive saturated tertiary institutions. Ours is no literature that will seed Le Guin's resistance and change, or that can be ‘disturbed by power’, as Solzhenitsyn feared, because it’s a literature which embraces the ethic of that power, the supremacy of the state over the individual, and incredibly for the arts, a collectivism over individualism, with at its base, the tax take which funds a complacent publishing channel, while eviscerating our private lives, our digital innards disemboweled and served up in the offices of government officials.

 No, no. Big breaths, big breaths. Stay with me, please, that’s the simple version ...

 And while I’m throwing rocks at sacred taonga, you’re also about to read:

 For a time I harboured a notion that it could be in the pages of indigenous writing that the rebellion against a state-endorsing literature might take hold, (given  classical liberal writing has all but folded its cards on the table): after all, a Maori oral literature had the 'trick of standing upright here' long before Mr Curnow sailed in. A literature working through colonialism surely must see the lie and damage of the state enterprise. Unfortunately, name me a Maori writer whose politick is not Left-Liberal, or advocacy for the future of Maori not tied to dependency on the welfare state? I don’t even think Alan Duff qualifies. So there will be no revolution away from a state literature born of Maori writing, for the same reason I have written there will be no Maori self-determination politically - and despite it appears arguable Maori did not cede sovereignty to the Crown via the Treaty (37) – because a progressive Maoridom is the antithesis of own-rule, individual or tribal. Indeed a progressive Maoridom is a culture happy to remain cowered on the leash of state also, accepting alms.

  Can be read in full here: A Disquisition on Our Literature and JM Keynes – Standing Upright Here.



(Personal note to Lindsay. I bought The Total Passion something like a year ago, have still not read it. It’s on the read list for next twelve months – that’s my timeframes at the moment – in view of getting a review up.)


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Appearance 2

Mark Hubbard's picture

... and continuing from my previous post, appearance two:


The Americans have their problems, and are headed into the spiritual and economic poverty of collectivism at pace under Obama, but are we ever likely to see a site in New Zealand run by an academic linking Austrian economics with literature? Answer: no – don’t make me laugh. I’m ‘chuffed’ to see Troy Camplin, Ph.D. devote an entire post to my piece. Quoting:
While here in the U.S., we don't really have all that much state funding of the arts, the institutionalization created by our universities is more than doing the job. Consider my post on The Institutional Role of Creative Writing Programs and my post on Institutionalizing Everyone With College. For those who believe in Zeitgeists, it may not be entirely coincidental that I have come across three people saying essentially the same things about the role of government-funded institutions (especially universities) in the creation of homogeneous outcomes in either college graduates or the content of our works of art and literature.

Let me note that Hubbard makes essentially the same points Jaswinder Bolina does in regards to literary production being a spontaneous order, and the effect of particular institutions on that artistic production, particularly on the content. Both identify literary production as spontaneous orders, and both are arguing that our particular dominant institutional structures within that order are having an effect on content. I am not sure that Hubbard and Bolina would agree with each other on politics (I don't know Bolina's, but I do know the education he received), but they have still managed to come to similar conclusions about the state of literature and the reasons for that state.

Notable in that is the fact that US doesn’t have an industry in funding the arts such as we do here through Creative NZ, or as they do in UK and Eurozone. I don’t think there is any coincidence to the fact that by far the biggest readership of my blog, geographically, is America. Interestingly New Zealand is only consistently my third biggest readership with, of all countries considering I continually bag its politick, France in second. That’s not the surprise it might seem when you understand the exodus of business from France currently to escape that socialist gulag’s 75% income tax rate and anti-capitalist stance of its leadership; especially recalling the poll which showed half of French youth would leave France if they could as they see no prospects or future in a country which demonises prosperity. I get almost no readership out of the UK.

Appearances 1

Mark Hubbard's picture

I've started a thread on this so may as well keep it updated. Lit Ramble IV has received two links/discussions so far. The second US one is the one I'm most happy about because chances of getting NZ academics or literature 'users' discussing it is nil, I suspect. I've added a new Appearances section to the end of my original post, but will copy and paste both updates here in separate posts.

Graham (Beattie) has always been good to me in that if I slip him an email saying I’ve got a book review or a literary ramble up, he will promo. Graham is also one who has never let any political affiliation slip on his site, I wouldn’t have a clue what his politick or philosophy is, other than he revels particularly in New Zealand’s cook books, so he’s always going to be a good bloke in my book.
There’s on interesting comment to his blog post, from Paul Shannon, per his Google + page an author of two novels in New Zealand, and providing me another data-point in evidence of my thesis, namely, (hard) left-liberal, progressive:
Paul Shannon said...
So what is that all about Graham? That liberterians don't write novels?
I put a substantive reply up, which was mainly orientated around if Paul were to read the whole piece – it’s only 18,000 words – he would find out for himself, but to quote my piece:
If you’re having trouble deciding where I’m going with this, that will be answered in Part II, however if you are a writer, agent, publisher, anyone in the literary industry pull yourself up at this point and answer this: how many of your associates in literature are used to speaking of capitalism with anything other than arrogant (feigned) world-weary cynicism? How many are openly supporters of the laissez faire capitalism that gave us our freedom and more prosperity than any civilisation in human history? (Nil?)


Thanks Linz, Gregster &

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Thanks Linz, Gregster & Olivia.

I never left SOLO, just stepped out for the duration of this novel, which to have any chance needs me to build up some type of following, and between time on keeping blog content up, being messed around by EQC with our house in Diamond Harbour, and the day job, there aren't any hours left. I guess you could say this post wasn't the best idea, although that said, I still believe if my novel were good enough publishers would pick it up; they might be lefties, but they are also professionals. I also don't know if I believe what I just wrote: and even if I score on aesthetics my content would be hard to stomach compared with the common memes of our literary fiction. Worse, Linz gets two cameos in the novel - probably need your permission do I? - which is probably the kiss of death Eye It's also got Karl Marx who I kill with a Fulton Hogan truck in Governors Bay.

I may well go self-publishing, but I'll give the traditional channel a go at least. What may count me out are copyright issues more than anything else. I'm currently on first draft at 117,000 words, will probably finish about 130,000 words next April or thereabouts, then at least another two or three months to edit back to 110,000 words which is what I reckon it should be. After that I'll pay for a professional edit then see if I can hook an overseas agent. I noticed a publisher [VUP] on Twitter tonight say NZ too small to worry about agents, just send direct to publishers, but you'd need an agent for overseas.Currently my blog is consistently read two thirds by Americans as I do a lot of tax material around FATCA so that would seem to be best market to aim for.

Anyway, if I do end up self-publishing then I'll be looking up Sam, whom I talk to on Twitter from time to time. (The main reason for the post is I follow a lot of, indeed mainly, literary accounts on Twitter, from novelists through to publishers, and everything, EVERYTHING, is progressive.)

Oh, did I say I sometimes I lose confidence with the entire concept of the novel? Um, no I didn't. Sometime I lose confidence with the entire concept of the novel.


Olivia's picture

Nice to see you again!

As Greg says, there's self publishing.... great, great tool for people with ideas the State and publishers wouldn't want to go near. No excuses now, you only have to go through the pain in the ass of doing your own marketing. Sam Pierson cannot save you. Eye


gregster's picture

(I tried to post on your blog Mark but the login rigmarole lost my post.)

I believe Ayn Rand wouldn't require an agent in 2014 because she would have Sam Pierson to format her material for the net. Or a similarly affable character. Perseverance would create 2014 interest, and with her further material gaining ground, the momentum would be sufficient for her to gain investors for a hardback issue.

I hear Nate Branden died. He won't need an agent either.

You're very welcome ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... even if you haven't read TP, Bro Hubbard! I do look forward to your review!

Ayn Rand would assuredly get no agent now, and would probably be fumbling with Kindle (the stellar Sam Pierson does all that vile fiddly stuff for me!). If successful in posting her works on Kindle, she'd receive no attention. The irony!—given that without that which she advocated so eloquently, there'd *be* no Kindle, or much else! The mindless are using the products of the mind in their campaign against it.

Thanks for blue sticky Linz.

Mark Hubbard's picture

Thanks for blue sticky Linz.

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