Being a Minor Writer by Gail Gilliland

By Gail Gilliland

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I also wish to thank the research librarians of the Boston Public Library, the Wellesley Public Library, and the Morse Institute of Natick, Massachusetts, for their help during my final revisions. Page xviii I am grateful to the editors of the journals and magazines that have supported my fiction and poetry over the years. Specific works referred to here first appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Dark Horse, Primavera, Rackham Journal of the Arts and Humanities, Sonora Review, Villager, and Yankee or in manuscripts which won Hopwood Awards for the novel, short fiction, and poetry at the University of Michigan in 1985.

In other words, J's stories did not contain the local equivalent of mainstream thought. Bloom ultimately implies that it is the refusal of J's ancient critics (and not of J) to assimilate or to adapt the existing canon that has become the crime. Bloom makes a statement that might justify the view that much that is original (or at least nonmainstream) in literature actually comes from the minor writers of a given time. " 12 Bloom's reading of J suggests another criterion for influencethat of the omitted and therefore ultimately subversive text that continues to lie in wait to be discovered over an indefinite period of time (in this case, over centuries).

But by the nineteenth century, women writers can be found on a more Page 24 regular basis to be making ethical arguments for their writing in a bolder way. They begin to speak, not through the mask of a fictional character, but in separate commentaries that specifically address their creative work. Horace's ars poetica was first of all a letter, we must recall, and so it is perhaps appropriate that as women writers joined the tradition, their comments would take place in letters. Often these were letters to well-read friends who did not themselves write.

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