Re: RARA-AVIS: The definition of literature

From: jacquesdebierue (
Date: 02 Nov 2007

--- In, "Kerry J. Schooley"
<gsp.schoo@...> wrote:

> Well, maybe there are postmodernists who interpret relativity to mean
> what you say it means. I haven't read them all, but I interpreted
> what I have read on the subject to mean that the value of standards
> relate to circumstances of the time, the individuals involved etc.

That is correct, with the caveat that "postmodernism" is not easily definable, and that several guys who are considered gurus of it deny a any relation to it... Derrida, for example, or Barthes. I say it is correct but it is also trivial: of course the critical and reader reception of a work depend on many circumstances... and all judgments of artistic value are, as we know, quite fragile. For that matter, we, as a species, are very fragile. On a realistic time scale, for example against the time the earth has existed, we have barely started to exist.

On the theory of relativity: it doesn't say that everything is relative... I don't know who invented that silly and totally false dictum. It wasn't Einstein or any of the other people who developed the theory.

And regarding the genres that occupy us, there is no reason why they should be treated by critics as something separate, as a dark and dirty corner... a text is a text, a novel is a novel, a story is a story, a film is a film.

By the way, I think Jim's comment on calling classics literature is very pertinent here. Take something that was considered trash and much later has come to be considered a classic... what _is_ it? It's the same book, of course, read and analyzed with a different eye, or, we might say hesitatingly, with different "standards" and "methodologies"...



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