Thinking as a Hobby

Get Email Updates
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

3477308 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

Literature with a Little "L"
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (7)

Via Locus, here's a review of Margaret Atwood's new dystopia, Oryx and Crake.

Honestly, the book sounds kind of lame (though I did like The Handmaid's Tale). But this particular review is notable for this oft-thought, but little expressed, bit of contempt for science fiction:

I am going to stick my neck out and just say it: science fiction will never be Literature with a capital ''L,'' and this is because it inevitably proceeds from premise rather than character. It sacrifices moral and psychological nuance in favor of more conceptual matters, and elevates scenario over sensibility. Some will ask, of course, whether there still is such a thing as ''Literature with a capital 'L.' '' I proceed on the faith that there is. Are there exceptions to my categorical pronouncement? Probably, but I don't think enough of them to overturn it.

Now, some might try to quibble with Mr. Birkerts and find the exceptions he says are so few and far between, but I have another question: Since when is literature not "Literature" when it proceeds from premise? Why is focus on conceptual matters necessarily less prestigious or worthy of note than focus on "moral and psychological nuance"?

Even conceding everything he says, why would these defining features marginalize or delegitimize a work of fiction in any way?

Read/Post Comments (7)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.