When you can’t be a writer full time

Bernard Lahire, The condition of the book. The double life of writers, Editions de la découverte, the Texts to support, 2006

Here are some selected excerpts of The condition of literary. Far from us the idea, you extract here, the essence marrow, a book of 620 pages, but only to propose some ideas.

p 10

The specificity of the literary world lies in the fact that it is a ” universe of low-paying, and very little professionalized, but nevertheless very time-consuming “. “Writers are often driven to perform to-and-fro permanent, and to share their time between the literary world and the universe of ownership of their” second profession “, not to mention circulations between these two universe, and the universe couple or family. The writer’s “second business” is a beautiful case of multiple membership, a case is also particularly interesting to reflect on the division of labour and functions in a society highly differentiated

p 12

We will see, however, that the field theory has some limitations to think of the literary universe. In fact, despite the fact that it is highly valued symbolically, and that it can lead to vocations and personal investments, intense, the literary universe is a universe very little overall professionalized and very low wages. It brings together a majority of individuals who are enrolled in addition, for economic reasons, in other professional worlds. Forced more often to exercise a second profession, the participants of the literary world are more close to players that leave the game to go “earn their living” on the outside – that of” agents ” stable field. It is for this reason that I preferred to speak throughout this book of “literary” rather than ” literary field “. The concept of “literary” refers to a sub-field, which is very different in its operation of the fields parents – academic fields, and scientists in particular – who have the economic means to convert the individuals participating in the permanent staff and bring them as well to put most of their energy to their service.

P 46

Teachers, journalists, doctors, counsellors, editorials, engineers or engaged in multiple jobs, “food” and sometimes precarious, writers are rarely “writers full-time” and the model flaubertien of the writer-annuitant focused on his work and nothing but his work is a model of the little theatre for thinking the game literary in its entirety. Flaubert, unmarried and without children, annuitant, without the second job, the” man-pen,” whose daily existence tends to be summed up in his writing (whether literary or epistolary), and in which the strength of the provisions of the literary him to experience the literature, as its natural element, is the exception that confirms the rule of cumulation of activities.

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