RARA-AVIS: Re: The definition of literature

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 07 Nov 2007


Re your question below:

"Huh? Hate to go all miker on you but can you give a single example?"

An example of a mystery that achieves literary excellence, is demonstrably a mystery, and isn't overcoming supposedly inherent genre handicaps in order to achieve its excellence? Besides the three I already mentioned? THE MALTESE FALCON, THE BIG SLEEP, and THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD didn't convince you?

Okay, how about Wilkie Collins's THE MOONSTONE or THE WOMAN IN WHITE? How about Joe Gores's INTERFACE? How about Meyer Levin's COMPULSION? How about Vera Caspary's LAURA? How about, since it's his month, Lawrence Block' EIGHT MILLION WAYS TO DIE?

And that's just crime fiction. How about westerns like Larry McMurtry's LONESOME DOVE? Romances like Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE? Fantasies like Tolkien's THE LORD OF THE RINGS? Military novels like Herman Wouk's THE CAINE MUTINY or James Jones's FROM HERE TO ETERNITY?

Is that enough? Or when you said a "single example" did you literally mean you only wanted me to name one?


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