Re: RARA-AVIS: The definition of literature

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 02 Nov 2007

At 01:59 PM 02/11/2007, you wrote:

>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.

No argument from me Jacques, though it isn't hard to see how some would get from one to the other. It's more than the similarity in terms.

Generally, I think of postmodernism as a bag of tricks, techniques if you like, used by artists to illustrate, rightly or wrongly, the application of twentieth century scientific theory to human behaviour and experience, and not some indulgence designed to trick humanity into believing nothing matters, as has been stated earlier, or that judgment is inherently evil. As such, it also isn't hard to see how these ideas would find expression in noir and hardboiled literature
(books, films, comics, theatre, pamphlets) and as such should not be subject to arbitrary dismissal. Even without agreement, it's too much fun to ignore.

I agree with you and Jim that literature is what gets written down and read (or heard, or seen in the case of performance) but there's no point being blind to the fact that many others use it as a term to mean some work has, or should have lasting value. In that context, I think of literature is another genre, primarily appreciated by those who value highly descriptive characterization. There are exceptions to that too, I expect.

Best, Kerry

------------------------------------------------------ The evil men do lives after them

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