August 4th, 2011 / 5:17 pm
Author Spotlight & Massive People

Author venn diagram

This pie chart illustrates what’s in my head in terms of what I think about writing, and who goes where. This of course is just a partial list, and my apologies for the lack of contemporaries, and women. Again, this is a view into my head, and probably subject to some disagreement. I think of all writing being from the head (pros: cerebral, conceptual; cons: didactic, dry), the mouth (pros: language, poetics; cons: empty banter, pure form), and the heart (pros: empathic, intimate; cons: sentimental, emotional) . My favorite writers, those in the white dashed center, are able to write from all three places. Other writers I admire are writing from two places. Others tend to fall into just one category, somewhat consumed by that point of view. Authors near the outer edges of their category may be seen as my critique of them, for the excessiveness of that sensibility. It would be interesting to see where you disagree, and why, and list those who I’ve failed to mention, and place them accordingly.



  1. Daniel Bailey

      for some reason when i saw wallace on the chart, i thought, “huh. rasheed wallace.”

  2. Neil Griffin

      I don’t see Cheever and Mailer as more mouth than you but agree with most of the rest.

  3. Jimmy Chen

      i have cheever and mailer as ‘head’; did you typo or brainpo?

  4. Tyler

      This is fantastic. I would put Bellow on the top sharp part of the middle oval, nearest the head but dangling between mouth and heart. I agree with Gaddis being more mouth and head as well. Are you least inclined to read a writer who is noticeably one of the three more than the other? I think of Franzen as using the heart as a pure form thus mouthing in that matter, but this is just upon first glance. I will come back to this. Another write I might put near the middle, and who is contemporary, is David Mitchell.

  5. Brooks Sterritt

      I’d place Wallace nearer the outer reaches of the Head and Mouth, which is in no way a criticism. This is a great diagram.

  6. Craig

      I’ve always thought of Vonnegut as more of a ‘heart’ guy, in a gut-instinct sort of way, but now that I’ve seen this diagram and seen his name juxtaposed against some others I’m not sure.  Of the authors I’ve read on here though I pretty much agree with all your placements.

  7. Brian McElmurry

      I’m reading Huxley “Point Counter Point” and it seems very head-y. 40 pgs in and only 2 hours has past. Very English. Add all. Cut nothing. I’m not sure if the novel will occur in only one night, which from it’s time period, 20’s, would make sense. Seems Proustian in a way. Proust is missing from yr chart. He’s head-y too. Seems Kerouac would be mouth and heart. 

  8. Nick Mamatas

      Any Rand isn’t head. She thinks she is. 

  9. Orioles52

      Rand doesn’t belong with any of those others names. And Proust should supplant, or at the very least, be set aside, Joyce. 

  10. Orioles52

      Rand doesn’t belong with any of those others names. And Proust should supplant, or at the very least, be set aside, Joyce. 

  11. Anonymous

      Nabokov is way more head.  Otherwise that’s a great chart.

  12. Anonymous

      Nabokov is way more head.  Otherwise that’s a great chart.

  13. rats

      You also apologized for a lack of contemporaries. You should give writers before 1900 (depending on your James, and, of course, Melville/Flaubert) a chance. You could add Hawthorne, Dickens, Eliot, C. Bronte, to your little white circle. 

  14. Jimmy Chen

      i agree, in terms of the heady structure of his books, esp. pale fire, but once he ‘gets going,’ like the actual flashy sentences, he is pretty mouthy

  15. Ken Baumann

      I move Vonnegut closer to heart, Beckett closer to the center, Camus closer to heart, McCarthy further to head, and keep Joyce right the fuck where he belongs.

  16. Jimmy Chen

      sucks ur dissin on rand since i dissed her by putting her at the edge. damn, forgot about proust, but my proust goes in the heart circle, that sleepy/sleepless sap

  17. Anonymous

      Yeah, I can see that.  Maybe put him up there in the dark green?  Because those beautiful sentences have always seemed to me to be the product of much conceptual thought; the opposite of organic.  Reading Nabokov is like wandering through giant crystal ice palace that shimmers and glows and that you can never touch.

  18. Jimmy Chen

      whudda been E. Bronte for me

  19. Jimmy Chen

      damn, you just reminded my of how mind blowing his short stories were, especially the latter ones; specifically, “lance,” “the vane sisters,” “signs and cymbals,” and “conversation piece, 1945.”

  20. Jimmy Chen

      nah; maybe; sure; no way; sweet

  21. Jimmy Chen

      maybe i shudda put D.F. for don’t fuck

  22. William Owen

      Ginsberg I think should swing over to the other side of mouth, become Florida to McCarthy’s Georgia. I get his being on the outside of the circle, but I think he has to be closer to heart, if only for ‘America’.

  23. Ken Baumann

      You just accidentally recreated the emotional arc of The Stranger.

  24. Scott Riley Irvine

      When I think of Proust – I think ‘heart.’ Probably would be on the diagram somewhere near Fitzgerald.  

  25. Corey Wakeling

      It seems to me you’ve conceived of heart from the perspective of mouth and head, so that those whose form is messier or less systematic (though perhaps as I’d argue no less their subject) have been chucked into heart where heart might not be so much their subject or disposition (see, now this question arises. You might want to qualify this Venn, Chen. Do you mean “writing from the —“, or “preponderantly concerned with”. I think there’s a difference.) But, taking the thing of face value, I’d have Chekhov mouth-heart, Flaubert’s got to be the middle, or consigned purely to mouth, (you’re going to have to decide), to have no head in Rilke is absurd, Perec should be on the border of head and mouth, at its limit, Beckett’s just got to be in the circle, by god, Ellis all heart?, Walser is all heart, put him at its limit, and surely Plath should be touching all three also. Kafka should touch that motherfucking white dotted line, man, just move him down a millimetre.  Where would you put Walt Whitman?

  26. Jimmy Chen

      thanks, now i have a headache; i would put walt whitman in a gillette mach 3 commercial

  27. Jimmy Chen

      suddenly feel like groovesharking ‘holland, 1945’

  28. Brian McElmurry

      Proust writes from the center out (Kerouac term), so starts from the heart, and then lets the mouth (mind) run where it will go, while staying in his original form (head) and coming back to the original thread of thought. I finished the third volume, which had a 400 pg tea party, which killed me in a way. And then the beginning of “Sodom and Gomorrah” had the gay rendezous of the Guermentes Uncle and the servant, but it was so veiled and indirect, I couldn’t continue.
      You’re right abt the Fitzgerald point, they are both heart felt and have great form to their novels (form being head).

  29. Jason L

      Stein makes sense where she is radially, but should be further out on the edge since, you know, she’s on the edge of language and all. Replace Ginsberg with Kenneth Goldsmith for mouth, Plath with Mary Oliver for heart. As for Ginsberg and Plath, I think those two should probably be right at the bottom of the mouth/heart ellipsoid, on opposite sides. Same thing with Whitman and Dickinson, but a little bit higher up than them and inside of the football chilling with Flaubert and Rilke.

  30. Scott Riley Irvine

      Ellis at all heart (albeit close to head) makes perfect sense to me. 

  31. Corey Wakeling

      You should explain, it could be quite interesting. Thinking about Lunar Park though, and the way in which it ravells a life up into fiction, the denial that anything but the metatextual performance of a life has gone on and referencing this in Lunar Park itself, along with Bateman’s lists, and the desensitised encounter of horror in Less Than Zero and The Rules of Attraction seems to me to assign the guy head-territory, pure and simple. Even the comedy that Butler talks about in a previous post is highly cerebral, I think.

  32. Tummler

      I was going to comment that Joyce is EXACTLY where he should be.

  33. Tummler

      Where would you place Tao Lin?

  34. hameinto

      the trash.

  35. Neil Griffin

      Typo. omit the word don’t.

  36. Matt Rowan

      He’s always written with both his head and his heart, just like he played the game. Or is that totally and completely inaccurate, given his history of suspensions and whatnot? DFW always had the same mentality when it came to basketball, so the two are very easily confused. 

  37. Matthew Simmons

      Rasheed would be situated right below Rilke, though.

  38. Tummler

      Although without much close, concentrated examination, at the moment, I think that my own arrangement of this diagram would be more or less the same with certain exceptions. For example, I would place Morrison at the very edge of mouth.

  39. gene

      ha. great diagram jimmy. fun shit. two contemporaries that immediately jump out to me as needing to be on the list are barry hannah (who’d be right between mouth and heart) and vanessa place (who’d be damn near center).

  40. Brian McElmurry

      Tao Lin would be head and some heart, I believe. He is conceptual (see Rumpus interview RE simple writing to releave suffering) and heart felt; coming from his emotions. Yet somewhat dry. Maybe near Camus, but not as wide in scope. He would be less mouth b/c his heavy editing, and possible over analytical style base on depression/anxiety, where he may cut wild emotive prose. Though in RY he gets long winded and mouthy in parts, but it is calculated emotive.

  41. gene

      also, gary lutz, total mouth.

  42. Tin House

      It was a great game. Both teams played hard. 

  43. Cassandra Troyan

      What about Doestoyevski? I think he’d be in heart/mouth. 

  44. craig ronald marchinkoski

      i heart cheever. maybe ease pynchon more into the mouth? did someone say bellow? love kerouac in the center of heart. what a lovable, sentimental drunken gentleman. i would boost the estrogen with the inclusion of grace paley and amy hempel. both hearts and some mouth. great show.

  45. Guestagain

      Henry Miller? Between Hemingway and Kerouac? I can’t help but mentally dropping people I know on this… nice Venn…

  46. Leapsloth14

      He’s back

  47. Corey Zeller

      If there was a dick section to the Venn I am pretty sure Miller would be on it.

  48. Maximuskim

      it’s nice to see that the venn diagram can still be useful

  49. MFBomb

      I would take Kerouac off Heart and drop into the Misogynistic Asshole.

  50. Benji

      Move Woolf above and just to the left of Wallace. And just erase Franzen. Then: Perfect.

  51. mimi

      I was thinking there needs to be a “Genitals” circle in this scheme.

  52. Corey Zeller

      Miller also seemed like the kind of guy you’d want to have dinner with…but also the kind of guy who would rip you apart in a conversation if he didn’t like and/or respect you.

      Also: who was the last great American author who either (a:) had his book published in another country before America or (b) was published in another language before English?

      I am having a hard time coming up with an answer off the top of my head without looking for it online.  In particular, a writer around the age of thirty who could fit the above right now.

  53. Corey Zeller

      I hate when people trash Kerouac…it is too easy…too accepted.

  54. Corey Zeller

      Nice to see Rilke here.

  55. MFBomb

      Sorry. I’m not here to make you comfortable. It’s in his books.

  56. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      How about Billy Shakes?

  57. Corey Zeller

      I’m not uncomfortable…I just think your comment is played-out.


  58. Guestagain

      interesting… I think most of these writers would rip you apart in a conversation if they  didn’t like and/or respect you, with the probale exception of Plath

  59. MFBomb


  60. guest

      swap Chekhov and Delillo, with -hov hanging in the heart.

  61. adrian

      Jimmy, I don’t see Vollmann on your chart. Too bad. Some (most) people probably think of him as head-y, but WTV is really all heart. He loves people. I think he drops the occasional Heidegger reference in there just to throw people off, but, really, the old boy is all heart. He loves people so much that it hurts, and has obviously hurt him to the point of self-obfuscation. God bless WTV. Otherwise, I enjoyed this chart immensely.

  62. Corey Zeller

      maybe… I could a few in here who would be simply dismissive of anyone who wasn’t a part of their circle…

  63. Corey Zeller

      Don’t you?  Even a little bit?

  64. Corey Zeller


      But Stein, I could really see her ripping a motherfucker apart

  65. Jon Beardsley

      Herman Hesse, I think at least head and heart. 

  66. Jon Beardsley

      Also… while Wallace should definitely be in the middle, I feel that he should also be on the outskirts of Mouth and Head.  He’s in love with form, to an extreme.  This diagram needs more dimensions!

  67. Anonymous

      I’d put Vollmann solidly in the head/heart overlap. His all-embracing empathy is his greatest quality. But he’s also as brainy as someone like Wallace.

  68. Nolan

      I wouldn’t have thunk Ayn Rand gave any

  69. HR Shah

      DeLillo is at least equal in mouth as he is in head.

  70. deadgod

      I thought “stevens”, all the others being first names

  71. Nolan

      You’re right if you think of Mao II & White Noise.  But if you think of his later dry novels (Cosmopolis, that 911 thing) or his early 70s novels, then head seems fair

  72. deadgod

      no brains, no headaches

  73. deadgod

      yes, the ENDOCRINE circle; regulative

      pro:  concinnity, generative

      contra:  nihil ex nihilo

  74. deadgod

      If a conditional statement is at work, then a Venn diagram can model it.

  75. Matt Rowan

      Agreed. That’s also my lone complaint.

  76. deadgod

      […]:  for there is no place
      Which does not see you.  You must change your life.

  77. deadgod

      –in two dimensions?

  78. deadgod

      oh I just spoke too soon

      in the future, if this thread just says “8 months ago” or “639 years ago”, Jon was first to ask for more than two dimensions

  79. William VanDenBerg

      Mouth with a gentle nudge towards heart, even if he doesn’t realize it.

  80. deadgod


      do you know howard roark or john galt

  81. William VanDenBerg

      He jumps around the chart more than anyone listed.

  82. postitbreakup

      which circle would hold jimmy chen?

  83. alex crowley

      nothing can contain the power of Chen

  84. postitbreakup

      ha. perhaps. but it’d be interesting to see a diagram with HTMLGiant contributors and their contemporaries (apologies notwithstanding… maybe someone else could make it if JC won’t) since most of these people are dead

  85. Lincoln Michel

      Shouldn’t Ayn Rand be in the “Anus” circle? 

  86. MFBomb

      No, not really.  It doesn’t seem like anything to get worked up over, unless you’re under 25 and also think the Doors are the greatest rock band of all time. 

  87. Lincoln Michel

      Otherwise I dig this this chart a lot (although obviously would quibble about this or that placement)

  88. Lincoln Michel

      Love Wallace, but definitely think he has a good deal of mouth. 

  89. Corey Zeller

      beautiful, and the second time you have done that in regards to something I said.

      How about:

      “Beauty is only the first touch of terror we can still bear”

  90. Corey Zeller

      Did your Introduction to Literary Theory teacher give you that line or did you learn how to make snotty, lame, unearned statements regurgitated by misguided grad school students taught to reject popular writers for years all on your own?

      Why don’t you just make a sharp quip about Dean Koontz… nobody has ever done that before.

      And yes, it is something to get worked up about.  I don’t sit around reading beat writers all day but respect them for what they are…and respect that, in many ways, they are responsible for many of the writers commenting here today becoming interested in reading at a young age. 

      But, then again, what would a iconoclast who goes by MFBomb learn from a guy who defined the literary movement of the 1950’s.

      Ah gosh, guess I’ll just listen to Peace Frog a few more times.

  91. MFBomb

      Wow. Sanctimonious much? 

      I have no opinion of Dean Koontz, nor do I have a problem with “popular” literature. I’m probably one of the few instructors who allows his students to write genre fiction. 

      My belief that JK’s work is misogynistic has nothing to do with genre or “popularity.” It has to do with the work, which speaks for itself, and I’m not interested in going completely off topic here when coverage of this matter is readily available–and, because, well, my initial comment was mainly a joke.  

      If you would get off your high horse for a minute, you’d notice that people were making comments/quips about where various writers should be moved.  One poster above me made a smartass comment about Rand.  She’s often disparaged too. She’s also popular. It was funny. Have you smacked Lincoln on the wrist with her ruler? 

      This is a Jimmy Chen thread.  He’s, like, sarcastic and stuff.  . 

  92. MFBomb

      Wow. Sanctimonious much? 

      I have no opinion of Dean Koontz, nor do I have a problem with “popular” literature. I’m probably one of the few instructors who allows his students to write genre fiction. 

      My belief that JK’s work is misogynistic has nothing to do with genre or “popularity.” It has to do with the work, which speaks for itself, and I’m not interested in going completely off topic here when coverage of this matter is readily available–and, because, well, my initial comment was mainly a joke.  

      If you would get off your high horse for a minute, you’d notice that people were making comments/quips about where various writers should be moved.  One poster above me made a smartass comment about Rand.  She’s often disparaged too. She’s also popular. It was funny. Have you smacked Lincoln on the wrist with her ruler? 

      This is a Jimmy Chen thread.  He’s, like, sarcastic and stuff.  . 

  93. swangz

      didion humping ellis; joy williams sandwiched between moore and carver; mccarthy and chekhov though yes mouth and head respectively, got more heart.

      great job, loved thinking about this.

  94. deadgod

      Aynus Random

  95. Parker

      Besides Chekhov, Wallace, & Fitzgerald, my favorite writers included fall into your heart category.

  96. deadgod

      I’m tempted, by the obvious arguability of many of the placements, to suspect that the locations of the names was arbitrary, randomized–as a jokey invitation to quarrel.

      –but, had any person thought for hours over where to place each of these 52 names, or 52 of their literary peers, maybe that person’s array would seem to be haphazard.

      52 is 4 13s – or 13 4s – :  a deck.

  97. craig ronald marchinkoski

      and that’s why kerouac is in the heart. it’s in his books. so is his un-resolved homosexuality. his religious investigations. his mother issues. his love for bums and whores and saints and fools and the lonely and the unstoppable; all of us out the door and down the street and across the continent and back around again ;)  so what, we read him as kids. i would never hate on a childhood friend. but some people never befriended kerouac. and that’s cool. but to simply call the bloke a misogynistic asshole and leave it at that, well, that’s in the cliffnotes. _maggie cassidy_ is the man’s masterpiece. fanboy i was and am and will be. 

  98. alexisorgera

      Maybe I missed it, but why is Ginsberg where he is? I don’t get that one.

  99. goner


  100. Drew Lerman

      A nudge toward heart is always gonna be gentle.

  101. MFBomb

      “all of us out the door and down the street and across the continent and back around again ;) ”

      Barf, but touche.

  102. craig ronald marchinkoski

      and barf is why the wink ;)

  103. HCzerwiec

      I think listing Plath as extreme “heart” buys into the stereotypes of her writing that focus only on tabloid poems like “Daddy.”  She actually has a supreme control of her poetic craft, which allows her to create and modify forms to suit her content.  See poems like “Blackberrying” or “Black Rook in Rainy Weather.”  I’d put her closer to Carver or Updike.

  104. Alec Niedenthal

      Good job, Jimmy. I think Melville should be literally side-by-side with Kafka in head–though I think he’s not as easily placed. That he’s above Roth kind of disturbs the balance of the entire chart IMO.

  105. Lilzed

      Idk … I can see Tao having mouth *because* of that hard leaning on style … an affect that somehow leads to heart.

      I think it’s easy to associate “mouth” with emotive qualities, maybe you are also thinking of speech tendencies or (material) language tendencies? Tao seems to operate outside of both an adoration for language and an adoration for emotion. But the way his style is so stripped and almost codified (I myself notice the spreading use of phrases like “neutral facial expression”) that I think the “mouth” elements plays a big part there … I think he actually pays a heck of a lot of attention to speech / rhythm of speech, like his pal Noah Cicero.

  106. Lilzed

      If you think about it, that whole groundbreaking move to use gmail chats in literature comes from a very focused, surefooted attention to speech and what is in the contemporary era. lol … mouth as mediated by computer screens and typing.

  107. MFBomb

      The children must be winking in the land where they let children wink, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Winnie The Pooh? 

  108. Drew Lerman

      I’m obsessing over this VD.  I’m interested that Carver’s all the way over in Heart, toward Head.  It did not strike me as wrong, necessarily.  But then I wondered about all the Lish people — Lutz, Lipsyte, Hannah, Hempel, Brodkey, Ford, etc. — and I thought, Lish certainly tried to move people toward Mouth, and isn’t Carver like that?  But Carver is so spare, maybe it’s less mouthy.  Here, Hemingway is in Heart toward Head like Carver, and I think those two guys are probably what most people talk about when they talk about minimalism.

      Is sentence obsession/sentence liveliness a key factor in Mouthiness?  I’d think.  And I think DeLillo is more Mouth than Heart, though I think he has much of both much of the time.

      Also, Barthelme.  I think he’d be between Mouth and Head, wishing to be nearer Heart.  I think that’s where I want to put DeLillo, too.  It seems for him sentences come first, conceptualization kind of later, which I’d think is a key feature of being more Mouthy.

  109. Blake Butler

      I’d venture that most of the Lish people have none of the above

  110. MFBomb

      “Is sentence obsession/sentence liveliness a key factor in Mouthiness? ”

      I prefer, “obsession with sound/acoustics.” Add Mark Richard to your Lish List, even though they supposedly had a falling out:

      Lish, per BOMB interview: 

      “BCE: So then, in this process of constant revision, is there something in the story that refuses change, won’t let itself be bent or erased? Something you’re still trying to pull out?GL: No, it’s all just words, one had better not let oneself be bullied by words. I horse around with tones, acoustics, music–all the properties of speech aroused by diction and syntax.BCE: I think that ‘acoustics’ is a really lovely way to put it. When I was first reading the stories, I thought they were written in an almost frenetic, stream-of-consciousness style. As I read further though, I realized that your work is much more nuanced, in terms of effects. I was charmed.GL: Okay. I’m inclined to be insufferably fussy. Every jot seems to be crucial. With a word one can hold back the world. You know? A common comma, for pity’s sake. To shift, where in the mouth the sound is uttered can make all the difference, one likes to think. Probably irrationally.”

      Richard, per BOMB interview: 

      “J.D. Dolan What sort of stuff led you to become a writer?Mark Richard In high school I was a disc jockey; in fact, at 13 I was the youngest disc jockey in the country.JDD And that led you to writing?MR It helped the way I develop narrative, in the way that sound and rhythm can help. Putting together a free-form show with news and weather every quarter hour, and commercials, songs, talk and banter in between, making it pleasant to the ear, meant knowing how to weave and how to modulate. That helped develop my own ear. You can’t sustain the high pitch for very long. You need the low pitch, the dead air, you need to take breaths. You don’t really learn that unless you learn music or do something unusual like put together radio shows where the audience has only one sense working, the aural sense.”

  111. MFBomb
  112. Drew Lerman

      Thanks for these.  Lish seems like an easy man to fall out with.

  113. MFBomb

      Yeah.  Pretty sure I would’ve wanted to fight him.

  114. Drew Lerman

      What do they have?

  115. Doug

      I think your placement of Borges has helped me realize why I can’t read too much of him all at once. I like the way his sentences sound, and I love the mind/philosophy games but I wouldn’t want to pull up a bar-stool beside any of his characters and just shoot the shit.

  116. Doug

      I think your placement of Borges has helped me realize why I can’t read too much of him all at once. I like the way his sentences sound, and I love the mind/philosophy games but I wouldn’t want to pull up a bar-stool beside any of his characters and just shoot the shit.

  117. William VanDenBerg

      An apt criticism of my word usage and a line of dialogue from a Danielle Steel novel.  Fine work Mr. Lerman.

  118. Anna

      I’d put Kerouac more as a mix between mouth and heart.

  119. Michael Brown

      this is stupid and beyond reductive. you can’t stuff someone’s work into some categorical framework, or assign the totality of the body of their work to a lone category without ignoring the differences between their individual works, and the works of others. if anything, this just seems like an excuse to name-drop all the authors you’ve kind of read maybe a little of, like “hey guys so yeah this is like all the shit i’ve read so yeah.” if you had actually read and actually developed a deep relationship with any one of these writers you would realize just how bankrupt any exercise such as this “diagram” would be, as each of these authors occupies all of these fields at all times. *how* they wrote what they wrote, or in what ways the individual writing is uniquely itself, are two more pressing categories or angles of inquiry one could or should pursue, and avoid trying to reduce other writers and works to each other.  

  120. Aloysius

      Where’s shakespeare?

  121. Trey

      hey dude I know you said that putting the authors into categories like this is just a way to name-drop all the authors and tell people you’ve read them, but I think getting so offended by this and claiming that all the authors in it are beyond these categories and all that shit you said about reading their individual works etc is you pretty much trying to do the same thing. “hey man, YOU say you’ve read these guys and can categorize them, but I have ACTUALLY read them and formed a deep relationship with all of them and you are SO WROOOOOONG and I am SO RIIIIIGHT”

      this is a fun diagram. have some fun today.

  122. Michael Brown

      uh, not really, bro. show me where i claim to have read any one of the authors listed in Chen’s diagram? my point has nothing to do with out-classing anybody, but about raising certain issues that i find with this approach to literature, and thinking about literature. that being said, you don’t even know what fun is, dipshitz. 

  123. Michael Brown

      shakespeare is the diagram itself.

  124. Trey

      fun is your facial expression when you read my response.

      fun is when you write “dipshitz” and how satisfied I think you felt

      fun is how much you care about this diagram, as if it compromises literature in some way

      fun is trololololo. the internet is serious bizness, don’t let any picture fuck around with how you think the world should be, k?

  125. mimi

      giving head?     _that’s_ altruism

  126. deadgod

      when head is righteously ‘given’, it’s a power trip for the ‘giver’

      but I was thinking of Aynus’s submissioners

      – starting with the author of “roark” and “galt”

  127. Michael Brown

      well you sure vanquished me with that one! 

  128. Flavorwire » Awesome Infographic: Venn Diagram of Author Sensibility

      […] at HTMLGiant, Jimmy Chen has created a great infographic separating some of his favorite writers into three […]

  129. Marylou

      What about Bellow?  Head? 
      I agree that DAvid MItchell is great.  Steynghart is all mouth but I love him. 
      Zadie Smith- head and heart…. also great.

  130. Guest

      The chancel of the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford.

  131. Anonymous

      Ayn Rand writes from her bottom.

  132. Michael Koh

      this is sweet

  133. Anonymous

      stein more head? kerouac & fitzgerald both more mouth? fitzgerald, i think, may even belong in the center…i don’t see him as being that heady, actually; his cerebrality (cerebralness?), in my opinion, kind of just tops off the heart-ness (heartiness?), rather than defining it…the heart-ness is the underlying foundation for him, i think

  134. Anonymous

      No brazilians on the list, eh? I’d put GUIMARÃES ROSA aside Joyce, and JORGE AMADO next to Flaubert. Also, Balzac is missing here! (obv, ‘heart’). Great diagram! Regards

  135. Anonymous

      No brazilians on the list, eh? I’d put GUIMARÃES ROSA aside Joyce, and JORGE AMADO next to Flaubert. Also, Balzac is missing here! (obv, ‘heart’). Great diagram! Regards


      Big achievement we analysed the analyzers,we put the writers in circle,Blood in fingers arrived from different parts,like mouth,head,heart very strange,moreover the writers never thought that all they will be bonded in circle. 

  137. Twitted by pradeepjacob1

      […] This post was Twitted by pradeepjacob1 […]

  138. Ratatat

      sorry, but who supplies you humor?

  139. ce.vogel

      I think it’s slightly unfair to Plath, maybe.  As a poet, I would definitely put her with mouth and heart, even if you (perhaps rightly) think she lacks “head.”

  140. Ag

      Strangely, I kind of disagree with most of the placements…

  141. Bob

      i heart gaddis.

  142. Leotis J. Brown

      Both teams played hard.

  143. » Venn Diagram of Author Sensibility branta

      […] at HTMLGiant, Jimmy Chen has created a great infographic separating some of his favorite writers into three […]

  144. Kegitv

      I don’t think Nabokov’s linguistic skills are that brilliant. Granted, he does put together beautiful & well-structured sentences, almost perfect, but his true achievement to me is the imagery he creates. I recall once an interviewer asked him whether his ideas came in the form of sentences, to which he answered that he thought solely about images. Of course, he still is very precise & exact (he kind of reminds me of a very skilled translator) and his sentences do have a special charm — but again, for me that charm comes from the images he creates, not his writing style; it (ie, his writing style) reminds of Orwell, actually, who also had that precision. But I wouldn’t say it’s anything out of the ordinary. 

  145. Katharina Gerlach

      Kafka, in the original German, needs to go into the mouth category. He wasn’t so much interested in the storyline he wrote but he took greatest care with his language. Once, he wrote a whole 1page story in a single, easy to understand sentence — I’m still awed by that masterpiece. Have you read him in German?

  146. Guest

      How is Steinbeck not on this ?

  147. Anonymous

      The logic of literature.

  148. fancy meeting you here

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  149. Thursday Treat: Links I’m lovin’ 8/11/2011 « Limited Edition Love

      […] An author venn-diagram. Times two. […]

  150. NC Weil

      Chekhov has more heart than you’re giving him credit for – his characters are mired & often pathetic, but he loves them. You also missed Dostoyevsky (Heart all the way) and Tolstoy, who’s in the shared Heart & Head zone.

  151. Literary Links | Chicago Subtext

      […] An Author Venn Diagram. […]

  152. Patrick S Perkins

      I’d have put Ayn Rand in the “anus” category instead.

  153. Ken

      This is impressive. I would argue that Kerouac should be closer to mouth. Considering his friendship with Burroughs and Ginsberg. Their influence on him shines through in his later works, Big sur especially.

  154. guest

      Where is Dan Brown?


  155. soozie

      I think it dangerous to think of emotion and sentiment as being cons.

  156. Yagoohoosoft

      I was all like, “wut? where’s King?” Then I saw the apology for omitting contemporaries and I was all like, Oh, ok.

  157. Doug Fudge

      Proust is the intersection of Heart and Mouth, and Pynchon seems more suited to the intersection of Head and Mouth.

  158. Bandwitch

      I think I might disagree with Melville but only because of his life and how much he wanted to be loved as a writer and how he never achieved the fame we all know him by until way after his death. I read a letter that he wrote to his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne about how he was terrified of not being liked, and he couldn’t understand why no one like him. It was really sad.

  159. Bandwitch

      Also this passage from Moby Dick: I remember the first albatross I ever saw… At intervals, it arched forth its vast archangel wings, as if to embrace some holy ark. Wondrous flutterings and throbbings shook it. Though bodily unharmed, it uttered cries, as some king’s ghost in super natural distress. Through its inexpressible, strange eyes, methought I peeped to secrets not below the heavens. As Abraham before the angels, I bowed myself…”

      Then again… the Confidence-Man was pretty dry.

  160. Hawkes

      Huxley needs to be so much more near the heart. Have you ever read “Those Barren Leaves”? SO MUCH HEART.

      Ayn Rand deserves her own circle. It will be entitled “ass”, and it will be similar to the mouth with less poetry and more egoism.

  161. Roguerobots

      Faulkner definitely needs to go in the “Head”

  162. Raphael Mazor

      I think you want a triangle plot, not a venn diagram.

  163. Taylor Paul Deaton

      I’d be interested to hear why you put Twain where you did. Based on your conceptions of your categories, I would have moved him closer to mouth, perhaps even in the circle.  Though it appears I don’t particularly like the mouth authors, so perhaps I don’t see it simply because I haven’t as much experience reading other mouths.

  164. 154443
  165. jtc

      I think this whole venn diagram thing is way more important than it seems. When I first saw it I thought oh hey that’s neat, and felt like your placements were fairly accurate. The more I think about it, though, (and I’ve been thinking about it every few days all month) this thing is really incredible, and I think could cause serious breakthroughs with young readers and writers. I remember in college all the workshops ever really focused on was honing the “mouth” section. nobody cared much about head or heart where I went, they just wanted sentences that pop. All fine and good, but I like reading stuff with ideas. I like writing fictions that are idea-centered. I don’t start with sentences, I start with ideas. That’s me, yeah? The diagram helps validate writers of all kinds, showing it’s not what they do that counts, but how they do it. I forwarded the diagram on to a teacher friend of mine, hoping she could find some way to incorporate it into her coursework. I really do think this is way bigger than just a neat blog post. So, yeah, good job.

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  167. Where do you write from: head, heart, or mouth? - BookBaby Blog

      […] Chen created this fun venn diagram for HTMLGiant, […]

  168. Writing in the Head, Heart, Mouth Zone

      […] and Hand — or as Jimmy Chen says, Mouth. Chen created this venn diagram about writers for HTMLGiant, […]

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      […] Diagrama de Venn de autores: Writing from the head, the mouth and/or the heart […]