RARA-AVIS: Re: half-time job for mystery novelist

From: jacquesdebierue (jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com)
Date: 19 Nov 2008

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    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Nathan Cain" <IndieCrime@...> wrote:
    > Speaking of academics, literature vs. popular fiction and Umberto Eco,
    > I recently attended a lecture Eco gave at Emory University about his
    > writing process (It was part of a series, but I could only pencil one
    > in). In it, he talked about his books. As you know, his first novel
    > The Name of the Rose was a murder mystery set in a medieval monastery
    > and his second one, Foucalt's Pendulum was a thriller influenced by
    > American detective fiction. During the course of the lecture, Eco made
    > the distinction between "high" and "low" culture, which seemed odd to
    > me, given that he has obviously been influenced very much by "low"
    > culture. It was a passing comment, which he didn't really expand on,
    > but it made me grind my teeth a little. Perhaps he went more into what
    > he considers the distinction between the two to be in one of the other
    > lectures.

    It's a common notion. Students hear that notion in lectures and they get imprinted. An imprint that excludes and suggests a rating system for quality based on genre cannot be a good thing. What became of the principle of not spoiling it for others? You can discuss Dante and Shakespeare without making a value judgment relative to other forms of literature. Literature = stories. Almost everybody is interested in stories, but not the _same_ ones! That is the problem with the canon.



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