This week, we read an article over at The Guardian which suggested that the “anxiety of influence” is waning — that is, that writers publishing today are no longer as closely influenced by the literary canon as they once were, and instead look to their contemporaries. Well, considering that this conclusion was the result of a mathematical study based on the number of “content-free” words like ‘of’, ‘at’ and ‘by,’ we’re not sure how much water it holds, but it inspired us to think about some modern writers who do seem to be carrying the torch for their old school counterparts, whether in topic, thematic style, or character. After all, the past never really goes away — especially in literature.
Karen Russell and Flannery O’Connor
As far as we’re concerned, Karen Russell is like a modern Flannery O’Connor if her mother had raised her on fantasy novels and a little too much sugar. All those lush and ominous Southern gothic settings, tough, weird protagonists and dark humor connect the two authors like a flaming beam — though Russell’s work is bolstered with a little more sentimentality to soften the blow.