David Markson writes beautiful novels interwoven with fragments of historical curiosities. When Christopher Lehmann-Haupt reviewed one of his early novels he wrote that Markson was "a novelist, with nothing to say, trying to tell a story he doesn't believe for a minute". Markson responded with the following poem (from his Collected Poems):
What bile must rise within his throat
O’er all those books, not one he wrote!
Ah, let the wretch our spawn berate:
The bold make love; some masturbate.
Lehmann-Haupt has just written the New York Times obituary for the philosopher Bernard Williams, who died this week. It contains the following fragment, which reads as if pulled straight from a Markson novel:
"[Williams] claimed to have used part of his history finals' time to learn history; he arrived 29 minutes late for the exam wearing a white magnolia in his buttonhole".
And around, and around, and around.