The Siren Call of a Dangerous God
by Geoff Ryan
Essay writing is one of the great traditions of North American literature, but one that has fallen into disuse in recent years. There maybe many reasons for this, but one is the popular assumption that we no longer live in an idea-forming age. The essayists of the 19th and 20th century expressed, examined and explored the great ideas by which their centuries were shaped. The sickly complacency that has settled over our consumer culture in recent years has smothered such explorations, leaving only madmen, fools and fanatics to believe that ideas matter. Which of the categories Geoff Ryan belongs to the reader can decide: but he belongs without doubt to the tradition of idea-shaping essayists.