Though the contributions of African Americans to American literature are discussed in this article, see for in-depth treatment. Also a small error in the grammer is not the worst in this situation. I agree, it would be good to look at this whole issue in greater depth than I could do in a blog post. The three main ways of approaching a definition of literature are relativism, subjectivism and agnosticism. American writers began by unique ways of expressing their experience. It has been suggested that the size restriction of the form produces various stylistic results, both some that are shared with the novel or short story, and others unique to the form.
As you can see by reading all the comments, everybody has a different definition of what is a good book. Information became easier to pass down from generation to generation once we began to write it down. It is a self-conscious, imaginative mode of writing which uses words not just to convey information, but as an art form. So literature has always been part of being human. E xtra Reading: Extra Reading: Eagleton, Terry.
It may be a little extra work for them, but there will be even more work if they have to tear apart a review because it is built on shaky evidence. Also there are a bazillion exceptions to every rule in literature, so of course there are going to be exceptions to my definition. He also can make me fall in love with more than one character flaws and all. That is why you write and for no other reason that you know of. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure Bibliography Allot, Kenneth Ed The Penguin Book of Contemporary Verse. To me the indictment is the labelling of any book with a genre, it diminishes reader, author and book alike. Ancient Chinese literature had a heavy emphasis on historiography, with often very detailed court records.
I think, in fact, it meets many of the criteria you list above as great literature. Similarly, you might expect everything by a known author to be literature, even though the quality of that author's work may vary from publication to publication. Etymologically, literature has to do with letters, the written as opposed to the spoken word, though not everything that is written down is literature. Literature has existed in the Americas for as long as the people who lived there have been telling stories. But as the 19th century went on, European fiction evolved towards and , the meticulous documentation of real life and social trends. A good book is great literature. An Introduction to the Study of Literature.
I also think that it is about what kind of character. The reader has to recognize the small turning points and the low points and the high points based on what they know of the character and about human nature. Angus Wilson, in Dick, K. Chloe Sencounter Thank you, thank you. Would an author rather be popular and make money selling books? As a specific discipline viewed through the lens of European literature, American literature began in the early 17th century with the arrival of English-speaking Europeans in what would become the United States.
But be very careful not to fall into the trap of rejecting research just because it conflicts with your. Also, what defines commercial fiction for me is the back-cover blurb. All that work for naught. In its defense, it was published by a niche publisher and therefore may not have had the benefit of the type of editing available to larger publishers. What confuses things further is that classical books are also classic.
By the 1980s, there was a sense of inclusiveness and relativism in what was termed literary that ran alongside the inclusiveness of multiculturalism - anything could be literature, and attempts were made to dismantle distinctions between high and low culture. I am not smart enough to understand what all those ideas are. My third novel, The Naked Name of Love, took me ten years from concept to publication and that, plus the Big Ideas God, evolution and love , helped give it depth. Something that makes me learn something. So, all in all, the way publishers are classifying and marketing things is really not working for anyone except their shareholders in the very short short-term.
Great literature leaves readers better than it met them. If you look at the people that have self-published and then been picked up by publishers, they tend to be writing thrillers or fantasy, not literary fiction. Ultimately it is a response to life. Works of literary fiction are by and large written to uncover larger truths about all aspects of the human experience, from the highest powers in government to the lowliest urchin on the street. However, there are also some problems.
Thank you for writing this blog!! The irony was that Mailer had it backward. Also, literature was emphatically not the first discipline, nor was it always a part of being human — although I strongly agree that stories, per se, have always been at the deepest recessess of the human heart when we awoke to our feelings and quickly on our tounges when we learned to speak and thereafter flowed from our pens when we learned to write. Lord Byron: The Major Works. The most important of these include the Classics of , of , of , of , as well as works of military science e. It has social and political effects: just ask or Vladamir Nabakov. So often when I am searching for the answer to random questions maybe procrastinating on writing a difficult scene… one of your blog posts shows up and I know it will be worth my time.
I was feeling guilty because the emotional depth of my characters was tossed in with a mysterious plot in which a lot actually does happen, but now I see that it's just commercial literary fiction. Some storylines are not compelling, but they are so well written that people will recommend them. I need to work on a cool 10 second explanation. London and New York: Methuen. Philosophy, Literature and the Human Good. Perhaps in some cases the artist's motivation could be seen as a need to create other worlds, in the way that Milton and Tolkien created other worlds, in order that they can project real conflicts onto another plane.