Dime Store Fiction versus Literature
While we were having our own little drama here concerning whether mundane matters such as word choice and comprehensibility should inhibit the truly gifted writers among us, the "real world" has been having it own debate -- can genre fiction be considered "literature"? I offer no answer and expect none. I merely suggest the following interesting articles for your reading pleasure. They are not in any particular order, so you will have to do your own sorting.
Interesting subject. I think that the decision of whether or not a work of fiction is or isn't literature should be formed by the reader. When I was a child, I read every Hardy Boys book written - multiple times. Great literature? Not really, but they did transport me into exciting situations and gave me thrills unobtainable in my young life. I recently gave my 3rd grade grandson a Hardy Boys book, so they are still around. Longevity is one earmark of popularity, if not literature.
There are great writers, and there are great storytellers. Occasionally, they converge and create something of lasting quality that stays on the store bookshelves and in the minds of the readers. Most of us have probably gone through phases of reading different genre; I know I have. I went through a period of reading cheap science fiction paperbacks for a couple of years, back when I was penniless and a friend would buy them used by the grocery sack full. I would read them before he would trade them in for new ones. What set these different writers apart was the ability to create a believable, but totally alien, universe. Some did, and some didn't. I don't remember any authors, but I can remember a few of their worlds. After years of needing to read technical works to make a living, with a only few small windows for recreational reading, I'm now reading a lot of fiction again, and enjoying every minute of it. A line I read the other day just blew me away. "The old man sat at the end of the bar, nursing a life long rage and a glass of rye." How can you not love it?
To me, what makes a book literary is if I remember it 40 years later as something enjoyable. After all, reading is something that should be enjoyed.
|link||answered Nov 09 '12 at 10:48 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow|
I haven't read all five articles yet. Here's a question, probably for Tolley, that I think is related. When my youngest was in high school, one of the books his Language Arts class studied was a "graphic novel." Huh? That was the first I had heard of those. As a high school student, he offered minimal responses to my questions. From what I could gather, one of the points they studied was that the genre required a very concise style or writing. When I thought about it, I realize that it might be just as difficult to write in this style as in any other style. The book was an inch thick! That's a lot of story, even when it is in captions.
I guess I didn't really ask a question, but I thought Tolley might have some insight on graphic novels since he is a teacher. (??) I think that to be a successful writer, (meaning one who earns money, acclaim, or both) one must fit into some style that a segment of readers find attractive. There are some wildly successful writers who mostly describe heaving breasts and sweating abs. Some people think it is crap, but is that because the plots are thin? The point of those stories is never a great plot, but instead is meant to evoke emotions and create pictures in the imagination of every Sally soaking up the summer sun. That actually seems difficult to me.
|link||edited Nov 10 '12 at 02:25 Patty T Grammarly Fellow|
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