Beauty can’t be canceled. O’Connor is problematic, but she’s indispensable. I think of Calvino’s “Uses of Literature,” his notion of a universal library that’s always expanding around a core of canonical books. The core may be less fixed for those of us looking for alternatives to a white, male, Eurocentric canon—but the important thing is that infinitely expanding shelter, which is tethered to history but always gravitating toward what’s still outside it, toward what Calvino calls the “apocryphal.” No books are removed from this library. No books are burned. I’m not going to remove Faulkner. I’m not going to remove Wallace Stevens. I see them as flawed, complicated, dimensional people.
- Terrance Hayes, from his Paris Review interview. You can read the whole thing here.