Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Spillane and misogyny

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 11 Jul 2006

Democratic? Can you explain that, Miker. Most editorial decisions are made by no more than a handful of people.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Michael Robison
  Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2006 2:08 PM
  Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Spillane and misogyny

  Jim wrote in response to an Agatha Christic comment:

  And I largely agree with that assessment. But she's
  still read and enjoyed all over the world. More than
  two decades after her death, she's still one of the
  most successful mystery writers there is. She's
  talked about, studied, written about, adapted into
  other media. She, too, despite her stick-figure
  characters, stilted dialog, dated attitudes, etc, has
  stood the test of time.

  The appeal of the test of time definition for
  literature lies at least partly in its democratic
  methodology. It denies the final decision to the
  elitist critic. If a work is still read by many
  people many years after its inception, then it gets
  the literature tag. And the elitist critics can rail
  all they wish about bad style or shallow characters or
  unimaginative themes.

  There are two conclusions, at opposite ends of a
  spectrum, that can be drawn from this. The first is
  that the elitist critic might be passing over some
  significant elements in works which make them resonate
  down through the ages. The second is that the common
  people are simply clueless as to what amounts to a
  good book. This roughly equates to the bourgeoisie
  regret that the unwashed masses were ever taught how
  to read.


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