David Haglund

David Haglund is the managing editor of PEN America.

Strange Stardom: James Franco

David Haglund, 17 March 2011

‘Actors don’t lodge in the culture as once they did,’ David Thomson writes in the entry on Heath Ledger in the latest edition of his Biographical Dictionary of Film. ‘They are a type of celebrity now.’ He contrasts Ledger, who died three years ago at the age of 28, with James Dean, who died 55 years ago at the age of 24 and became the standard against which all...

A Kind of Gnawing Offness: Tao Lin

David Haglund, 21 October 2010

The title of Tao Lin’s sixth book and second novel is an act of mild provocation. Richard Yates belongs to a biography, not a novel – certainly not one in which Yates himself doesn’t appear. One character in the book steals a copy of The Easter Parade; another reads Disturbing the Peace; a third tells an anecdote about a reading Yates once gave. That’s pretty much it...

Diary: Mormons

David Haglund, 22 May 2003

I recently mentioned to an English friend that my parents don’t drink because they’re Mormons. ‘So, Dave,’ he asked sheepishly, ‘how many wives does your father have?’ I explained that the Mormon Church outlawed polygamy in 1890; Utah wouldn’t otherwise have been allowed to join the Union. I didn’t mind the question, though. Mormons may no longer be...

From The Blog
22 October 2010

As a young novelist who writes almost exclusively about young people (specifically, his friends and himself), Tao Lin has unsurprisingly been tagged – or burdened – with the ‘voice of his generation’ label, and said to resemble such writers as Douglas Coupland and Bret Easton Ellis. But the ‘voice of his generation’ who came to mind while I was reading Lin’s books was Jack Kerouac. It’s not the most obvious comparison, perhaps: their prose styles are very different, and one of the few other people to have seen some resemblance points out that ‘entire Lin paragraphs could be housed in a single Kerouac sentence.’ More obliquely, Lin has been included in a loose collection of writers one critic has called the ‘Offbeat Generation’.

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