Tuesday, December 11, 2018
So The Guy Says To Me (See Below)
Responding to that is not easy. First, literary as an honorific is new. A literary critic can review all sorts of works. Literary scholars write about non-fiction.
Fictional works are all literature in the most common meaning. Poetry and drama would also be included.
While some literary works clearly instruct, e.g Animal Farm is a fable about the nature of communism, others, very great ones, do not, e.g., King Lear. My word for those would be profound. And great works tend to be subtle, not crude. Parts of novels may explicitly instruct, eg Middlemarch, but not the novel as a whole. As for pleasure. I take much greater pleasure in Decline and Fall than in Middlemarch, but the latter is profound the former is not. Chandler is more profound, I'd prefer serious to profound here, than Waugh, but less pleasurable. So at one end are books that are pleasurable, usually comic and others that are profound, verging on tragedy, and the good ones in both are subtle. So for me the old dramatic masks are the key to the serious and the pleasurable, and what makes either good is subtlety vs. crude, clunky, or obvious.