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Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 545

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is a short story collection by American writer Denis Johnson, which is composed of five stories that are semi-autobiographical in nature. The book was published one year after Johnson's death. Fans and literary critics interpret the work as Johnson's farewell to the world, and an introspective memoir-fiction hybrid that examines his past, his career, and the future that lied ahead.

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Write naked.
That means to write what you would never say.

In the stories, there is a recurring theme of regret, whether it's things that Johnson did that caused shame or things he did not have the chance to fulfill. One of those was, in Johnson's opinion, was writing with pure honesty. Although Johnson's work as already known for honesty, in the last years of the author's life he believed he could have written in a more unfiltered way. In the titular story, Johnson talks about the people he used to know in his past and the regrets of not saying what he wanted to express when he was still in contact with them. Johnson's writing manifesto emphasizes a pure form of writing, in which one articulates his/her true emotions without inhibition. In a sense, this manifesto sets up the style and prosaic structure of the The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, which is a hybrid of essay writing and fictional narratives.

Write in blood.
As if ink is so precious you can’t waste it.

It is apparent that Johnson was aware of his health problems and the possibility of death. Indeed, Johnson would die before the book was published. Johnson was conscious of the time he had left to write his last work, and thus believed that words should not be wasted on the trivial. This method of writing was not only a reaction to the reality of his own mortality, but is an advice to future writers in how they should approach their work.

Write in exile
as if you are never going to get home again, and you have to call back every detail.

The theme of...

(The entire section contains 545 words.)

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