September 21st, 2010 / 10:37 am

Eagerly Anticipating

This Is Not a Tragedy:
The Works of David Markson
Françoise Palleau-Papin

The very first book-length study to focus on this seminal American author, This Is Not a Tragedy reviews David Markson’s entire body of work, ranging from his early tongue-in-cheek Western and crime novels to contemporary classics such as Wittgenstein’s Mistress and Reader’s Block. Having begun in parody, Markson’s writing soon began to fragment, its pieces adding up to a peculiar sort of self-portrait—doubtful and unsteady—and in the process achieving nothing less than a redefinition of the novel form. Written on the verge of silence, David Markson’s fiction represents an intimate, unsettling, and unique voice in the cacophony of modern letters, and This Is Not a Tragedy charts Markson’s attempts to find, in art and language, the solace denied us by life.

pre-order from Dalkey Archive


  1. stephen

      interesting title. i wonder if i will read that someday.

  2. stephen

      interesting title. i wonder if i will read that someday.

  3. stephen

      life denies us solace, ay, dalkey? jk but that made me smile a little. whoever wrote the description of the book did a good job insofar as it makes his career sound very interesting (which i agree, from what i know, it does seem interesting). kind of regret not attending the discussion of his work that he himself attended in chicago ~2 years ago.

      anyone out there have recommendations, as to what of his to read beyond “wittgenstein’s mistress,” “reader’s block,” and “springer’s progress”? i read and enjoyed those three. maybe the answer is “all”?

  4. I. Fontana

      “This Is Not A Novel,” “Vanishing Point,” and “The Last Novel” are all pretty good, in addition to the three you mention. I also have his detective novels, republished together: “Epitaph For A Tramp” and “Epitaph For A Dead Beat” — but I haven’t read these yet. There’s another entitled “Going Down,” possibly set in 1960s Mexico.

  5. lily hoang

      pretty exciting

  6. letters

      ‘The Ballad of Dingus Magee’ was awesome.

  7. smart dumbguy

      there’s gonna be a little “celebration” (not sure what word to use here) of his life and works at some NYU building on oct. 7th. it’s free & open to the public.
      don’t know all the details, but it could be interesting.

  8. Ryan Ridge

      Library of America needs to release the complete David Markson in a double volume set. I’ve read everything by the man (my hero) but I’d love to see it all bound together and portable.

      This book looks interesting, Christopher! I’ll watch out for it.