Chabon Defends Acknowledgments

The New York Times published a letter to the editor from Michael Chabon on Monday, defending the use of the acknowledgment in novels.

The letter came in response to an article Times books reporter Julie Bosman wrote that was critical of Norman Mailer’s very long acknowledgments.

“Here’s a crazy reason your article did not mention for including an acknowledgment at the end of your novel: to acknowledge,” Chabon wrote in the letter, dated Dec. 5 and mailed from Peterborough, New Hampshire.

“If there is some kind of old-fashioned virtue in concealing one’s debt to and gratitude for the hard work of others, it’s difficult for me to see where it lies,” Chabon wrote. “The comparison to an Oscar speech is easy but bogus; it’s much more like an invocation, a quick prayer of thanks offered up to your ancestors before you paddle your canoe over the falls.”

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