Who is the Literary Man? Or: how does one become a Literary Man? The Literary Man must read and write, or at least pretend to write. He undoubtedly loves Hemingway and Fitzgerald. He likes arguments about the Greatest American Novel and will argue on behalf of books that he has never read, like THE SOUND AND THE FURY or THE RECOGNITIONS. He prefers his steak rare.
The Literary Man should have highly sophisticated taste. He drinks bourbon or Chateauneuf-du-Pape; he does not drink beer (in public), except during a sporting event. The Literary Man would like you to think that he is virile and charming. He enjoys voluptuous women in theory, but in practice prefers the bedroom athleticism of a 34-24-32. The Literary Man loves the art of Stravinsky. The Literary Man has been to Rome. The Literary Man will listen to jazz, but knows nothing about it. He prefers American rock, bluegrass, or someone you’ve never heard of; the Literary Man would rather insert a semi-colon, needlessly, than anchor his sentences with a vulgar preposition.
The Literary Man probably works at a literary magazine. At work, the Literary Man rarely works. Instead, he reads Wikipedia and the New York Times. On Fridays, the Literary Man meets his literary friends for a cocktail, a dry gin martini, stirred, with olives, in the winter, and usually a Maker’s Manhattan sans cerise in the summer. The Literary Man is probably an alumnus of an Ivy League college, or possibly a low first-tier college like Vanderbilt, Georgetown, or Duke, which he often mentions during college basketball season.
The Literary Man should try to learn a new literary word or phrase every day, such as:
Sturm und Drang: A German term meaning “storm and stress.” It refers to a German literary movement of the 1770s and 1780s that reacted against the order and rationalism of the enlightenment, focusing instead on the intense experience of extraordinary individuals.
The Literary Man also makes a point of emailing his literary friends his favorite Wikipedia article of the week, so that they all, in turn, might converse about the contents of the article. This week’s article is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactorrhea
The Literary Man also keeps a close eye on the different works of literature published by his peers. He wants to appear knowledgeable about these works, but doesn’t want to waste his time on books that aren’t very good. The following book, OPEN CITY by Teju Cole, has caught the Literary Man’s attention, but he has not yet read or purchased the book. Instead, the Literary Man will wait until someone literary asks him if he has read it, at which point, he will, very quickly, in order to re-assert his literary prowess.
What will it take for you to become a Literary Man?