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

From: Robert Elkin (
Date: 06 Nov 2007

"Typical rare bird"? Who the hell do you think you are? I don't know what your tiny hatred-fueled sun of a deformed sensibility thinks I "stand for," but your words are far too uncivil for me to go on without *flaming* you in response to yours, & so I thus christen you "Sauron," will from now on address you as such, and say adios. Rob

----- Original Message ---- From: JIM DOHERTY <> To: Sent: Tuesday, November 6, 2007 3:08:38 AM Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: The definition of literature



Re your responses to comments of mine"

"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."

Nope. Sorry. Can't be done. I despise all of you to

the length and breadth and depth and marrow of my

sould and I hate everything you all stand for with the

heat of a thousand suns.

(All of this notwithstanding the fact that I'm now at

least a "semi-official" academic since I've taught

literature courses on the 'Net, and will be teaching

courses on film and true crime at a local college come

2008 [presuming enough people sign up for the


"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."

The implication of the phrase is that the "genre" is

something that has to be escaped from, which is

insulting to the genre and condescending to the

specific piece.

A typical Rare Bird, on the other hand, might say that

a particular novel or story is far better than the run

of the mill, but few would say, either implictily or

explictly, that a piece's higher quality make it

something other than a genre piece.

Few here would suggest, for example, that THE MALTESE

FALCON or THE BIG SLEEP are examples of something

separate and distinct from a private eye novel, that

THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD is something other

than a spy novel, or that THE NEW CENTURIONS is

something other than a cop novel. We'd probably be

more likely to say that they very good examples of the

form precisely because they've plumbed the novelistic

possibilities of the form that most others miss or

don't even try for.


__________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 06 Nov 2007 EST