Keith Watson, Rev. of The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure by C. D. Rose, failure magazine November 2014
The BDLF is a clever put-on, a brisk stroll through Borges’s Library of Babel guided by Rose’s fastidious prose and copious literary references, but it is also a clarion for the infinite possibilities of literature. As Andrew Gallix observes in his introduction, “Writing about fictitious or lost works is a means of holding literature in abeyance, of preserving its potentiality.” Rose’s failures are also potential successes, each one a small recognition that the actuality of literature will never equal its potentiality. Reading Ulysses will never quite match the idea of reading Ulysses. And in that sense, all literature, no matter how great, is a glorious failure.
Thom Cuell, Rev. of The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure by C. D. Rose, The Workshy Fop 10 November 2014
In his introduction, 3:AM Magazine editor-in-chief Andrew Gallix notes a tendency in modern art towards blankness, exemplified by ‘the white paintings of Malevich…as well as John Cage’s mute music piece’. The literary apotheosis of this trend is Herman Melville’s Bartleby, the scrivener who stopped, er, scrivening. If we accept this theory, then we must accept that the writers Rose commemorates have inadvertently achieved greatness, ‘through their work being censored, lost, shredded, pulped or eaten by pigs’.
Michael Dirda, Rev. of The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure by C. D. Rose, The Washington Post 5 November 2014
After a scholarly introduction that touches on such topics as blankness, the whiteness of the page and the ontology of fiction, Rose opens The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure with an account of the life of Casimir Adamowitz-Kostrowicki.
Jonathon Sturgeon, “In Praise of Literary Failure,” Flavorwire 30 October 2014
The book’s introduction, too, is one of the finer pieces of literary criticism to be released this year. Written by Andrew Gallix, editor-in-chief of 3:AM Magazine, which purports to be “the first literary blog,” the intro deftly surveys the gamut of literary failure. Especially good and poetic is Gallix’s take on the scourge of the writer, the blank page:
Blankness is the sine qua non for inclusion in the BDLF, but it is seldom sought after directly. Manuscripts and books remain blank to us through being censored, lost, drowned, shredded, pulped, burned, used as cigarette paper or wrapped around kebabs, fed to pigs or even ingested by their own authors…These brief biographies are sketches that merely gesture towards the possibility of narrative development; stories that are cut short or fall silent. Stories that would prefer not to.
Douglas Lord, Rev. of The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure by CD Rose, Library Journal 16 October 2014
Don’t be taken in, as I first was, by Sorbonne instructor Andrew Gallix’s Very Serious Introduction in which he notes all sorts of high-level details, such as that most of the writers “…devoted their lives to the pursuit of some Gesammtkunstwerk…”.
C. D. Rose‘s The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Literature (Melville House), with an introduction by yours truly, will be published on 4 November 2014.