Re: RARA-AVIS: letting time sort it out

Date: 23 Jun 2006

Kerry wrote:

"Sorry Al, I can't answer this. Like I said off the top, to me
"literature" is both the definition of all things written, or the name for another genre."

John Carey starts his book, What Good Are the Arts?, with the premise that art is anything anyone has ever said was art. And he makes a very convincing argument that there are no rational reasons that one person's definition, no matter how accredited that person, is better than another's.

However, the second half of the book is Carey's argument that literature is the greatest art. He offers standards by which literature is better than other arts, usually compared to music and/or painting and sculpture, mainly in its ability to argue and debate. Unfortunately, he never provides a rationale for why those are, or should be, the standards by which art is judged. Although he occasionally throws in a caveat that this is only his opinion, he seems to be doing just what he criticized everyone else of doing in the first half of the book.

And Kerry, like you, I've been trying to think of some crap that has survived. Although I hated Dickens in high school, I'm not ready to dismiss him (and keep meaning to reread something by him to see if I just didn't get him at the time). The closest I can come is something that has survived because it is historically important to the development of a genre, but, at least for me, pretty hard to slog through -- Carroll John Daly.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 23 Jun 2006 EDT