RARA-AVIS: RE: literary merit

From: Gary ( piesbook@execpc.com)
Date: 04 Mar 2007

Interesting comments on literary merit, Jack. I have had to deal with this same thing. Here is my take on how I think of it when I am discussing mystery or crime fiction as a fan. If authors do not extend themselves beyond the easy boundaries of the genre, they may have merit for entertainment. But literary merit is only achieved if authors push themselves into challenging areas. I like to mention theme as the most common place where genre novels fail and novels of literary merit succeed. But, literary merit can be achieve with the use of language, character development, or style as well.
  I once met a theater critic who said he would enjoy an amateur production as much as a professional because he had a different level of expectation when he viewed them. I like to think that is how I approach reading. I can have fun reading Richard Prather and enjoy Raymond Chandler. I just know not to hold them up to the same standard of literary merit.

Best, Gary Warren Niebuhr P. O. Box 341218 Milwaukee, WI 53234 piesbook@execpc.com http://my.execpc.com/~piesbook/piescatalog.html

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