Martin Who?

Julia Bell at The New Statesman:

What the culture valorises says something about who that culture belongs to, and the responses to Amis’s death seem to be mourning not so much the work, which is patchy and difficult to defend, as the idea of the writer as the Great White Male Novelist, RIP. Martin Amis as metonym for the cultural figure who can write in omniscient sentences and is expected to have an opinion about the state of everything, while looking sulky and serious and having a private life that can be enlarged by the gossip columns. He harks from an age when, as Enright says, “literary London was like one long dinner party in which everyone knew where you went to school”.

In a telling scene from Experience, when his son asks him if they are upper class, Amis replies that, no, “we’re the intelligentsia”. As if it’s possible, just by force of will, to avoid the shaping forces of class and privilege altogether.

more here.