What is up with /lit/'s absolute hard-on for classical literature at the seeming expense of contemporary lit?
[Accidentally posted this as a reply to another thread instead of an independent one, sorry]
And there's nothing to be gained from studying Green, Rowling, Pynchon, King, etc.?
Or to elevate(?) things slightly, Wallace isn't either?
It seems slightly disingenuous to suggest that literature as a medium died somewhere between 50 and 100 years ago is my point.
Classics: tried and true, known to be great. Foundation of modern literature through allusions and references.
Contemporary: have to sort through the shit to find what's worth reading, most will be unknown in 10 years because it sucks
Contemporary = carver, updike, barry hannah, faulkner, paul bowls, knaussguard ( even if you don't like him it's still an interesting idea )
There's loads of interesting contemporary literature. If you were actually asked to talk about cont literature and started talking about harry potter, people would laugh at you.
I'm not so sure. In my department, I'm trying to focus on pop lit as a literary form (meaning the comic book, the graphic novel, things like YA too), and obviously it's not wholly explored, and the academic establishment is slow to progress, but a lot of the professors I've spoken to have said that it's definitely an area with potential.
>And there's nothing to be gained from studying Green, Rowling, Pynchon, King, etc.?
>It seems slightly disingenuous to suggest that literature as a medium died somewhere between 50 and 100 years ago is my point.
Very few people here do that; in fact, most idolize authors like Gaddis and Gass.
I think that there's potential insofar as much of the same ideawork that a lot of classic/acclaimed literature does can be found in literature. Furthermore, interdisciplinarily, pop lit also reveals a lot about how cultures respond to certain philosophical precepts or thematic ideas that are explored in literature.
Basically, I genuinely see very little distinction between the interpretive value of work that gets canonized and that which is more pulpy or pop.
I'd agree with you in as much that pop culture works can be really interesting to look at in terms of what they reveal about the zeitgeist, but there's an absence of intent there, as opposed to say something like american psycho, which I think makes things a bit one dimensional. To be a bit glib
> harry potter = good for studying society
> proust = good for studying literature
That's fair, although I'm studying comparative literature so I guess for us literature is not a hard-and-fast, self-contained discipline.
However, I don't think intent is necessary for literature to function as a good literary work. I'm sort of in that Death of the Author camp a bit--unless I'm misinterpreting what you mean?
You have to read the classics in order to know what is good in contemporary literature. Most of us are fairly young and not pipe smoking grey haired patricians.
Why not pulls bars of gold off the shelf instead of sifting through mud, dirt, and shit? If you go the sifter route you are on your own with no help. academia ignores contemporary literature, pop critics/book reviewer circulation is dying, big publishers struggling, they are scared to pan popular books, smaller presses are publishing more capital L Literature than ever before.
So if you have gone through the canon, can make critical judgments on your own, and hear over all the noise, you can enjoy contemporary literature.
I'd agree with you that doing the now standard X [thinker, school of thought] critical reading of a pop novel is the same as something canonized. Either way you are elucidating the thinker and not the text, but if you're at the point where you can do this (a firm enough grasp on whatever your X is) you just aren't going to want to do it with Harry Potter.