Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: The definition of literature

From: Robert Elkin (
Date: 05 Nov 2007

Jim wrote: In the second of his two articles, "Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd," Wilson admitted that he found Chandler worthwhile, but insisted that, in spite of the plots involving the investigation of and solution to a crime, Chandler wasn't really a mystery writer at all....Silly comments like this led to that famous phrase so beloved of academics, "transcends the genre!"

1) There are a few "academics," official & not, who read & contribute to this list; I am one. There must be some way for you to make your points other than by attacking & insulting all of us, I would think.

2) While EW's shortcomings are well-documented (see his contretemps with Nabokov over Eugene Onegin), & his equivocation here may indeed be silly, "transcending genre" is neither a difficult concept nor a particularly disputed one, & is often quite convenient in separating rote genre exercises from more literary efforts. We use the concept on this list constantly, although without straight utterance of the cliche of which you're so dismissive.

An academic, ese

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