In case you missed leading white male publication, Esquire’s, comprehensive history of the white male author (originally titled “The Greatest Books Ever Written”), Blue Mesa Review brings you a re-boot. These authors are venerated in academia and literary circles alike for their investigation of white male-ness in the world, often uncovering startling truths of what it means to be a white male.
The granddaddy of Americana literature wrote vividly of mice and white men in the Salinas Valley. Steinbeck’s lifelong obsession with white men and animals culminates with his memoir, Travels with Charley—an account of a road trip the author took with his beloved poodle. When Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in ’62, he told the committee he didn’t deserve such a lofty accolade. Legions of high school English teachers disagree.
The Papa of modern white male writing. His stark diction creates a rhythm of its own as he spins booze-drenched tales of the white male. He is credited with developing the white male iceberg theory, a literary notion that says the small actions and emotions of a white male hint at a greater iceberg of complex feelings hidden under the surface.
Under the influence of Hemingway and a fifth of scotch, Carver employs minimalism to illuminate the world of the blue-collar white male, eeking out a drunk, destructive existence in the lonesome corridors of the great Northwest. Throughout his career, Carver came to define what we talk about when we talk about white males.
Eggers rose to literary stardom after penning his memoir, a heartbreaking work of staggering white male-ness. He heads his own press—McSweeny’s—as well as his own charity, the 826 literacy program. His crowning achievement, however, might be his cash cow collaboration with white male director Spike Jonze, helping to bring white male children’s author Maurice Sendek’s Where the Wild Things Are to the big screen.
In an NPR interview, this champion of the white male voice Franz-splains “women read while men are off golfing or watching football…I had some hope of reaching a male audience (with The Corrections).” Fearing the derailment of this vision, the author laments, “I’ve heard more than one reader say ‘I would have been put off by the fact that (The Corrections) is an Oprah pick. I figure those books are for women. I would never touch it.’” Translation: Franzen doesn’t need Oprah to sell books. For that, he’s got his white male privilege.
And if you’re in the mood for a slightly more diverse book list, check out Flavorwire’s 50 Books by Women Authors and BuzzFeed’s Greatest Book’s by Women, and feel free to recommend any book lists that offer a more diverse selection.
Written by a white male author in the MFA program at the University of New Mexico.