Martin Amis Forgets


Martin Amis had this to say about literature, and his new book:
And the book is a kind of satire of contemporary England—a member of its underclass wins the lottery and enters its tabloid class. 
Satire is—I wonder how helpful it is as a category. It was once defined in apposition to irony, in that the satirist isn’t just looking at things ironically but militantly—he wants to change them, and intends to have an effect on the world. I think that category just doesn’t exist in literature. No novel has ever changed anything, as far as I can see.
This is a fairly ridiculous thing to say (Sinclair Lewis anyone?) because books have had enormous impact since their creation. Novels have changed a great many things. One of the most influential novels in human history is, of course, Uncle Tom's Cabin. You would think that an Englishman would grasp this, since Harriet Beecher Stowe was treated as if she were royalty in England after the publication of the novel.

I think it would be fair to say that Martin Amis is not going to be known for his ability to give great answers to interviewers. This is not a knock against him at all.