Enduring vs Enjoying
apm at alumni.uwaterloo.ca
Wed Jan 19 17:23:09 EST 2005
I'm starting to think I've been misunderstood. I was neither saying
that one couldn't enjoy Serious Profound Literature (or movies or
whatever) nor that it wasn't worth reading things that might not
be highly enjoyable. What I was saying was that some Literary
Snobs (the sort who would say "Oh, you're reading a YA fantasy"
in a condescending way if they saw you reading a DWJ) seem to
think that Serious Profound Literature isn't meant to be enjoyed
and that the very nature of enduring reading something is what
makes it valuable. Almost that by enjoying something you are
proving its worthlessness or proving that you don't understand
its Deep Profound meaning.
On Wed, Jan 19, 2005 at 03:31:25PM -0500, Kyra Jucovy wrote:
> On Wed, 19 Jan 2005, Robyn Starkey wrote:
> > I have to take issue with this, being someone who might easily be
> > characterised as a Literary Snob. I think that you have to take into
> > account differences in taste. I actually really love a lot of books that
> > other people (even, gasp, Melissa) describe as boring or unreadable. I
> > don't just endure them, I enjoy reading them. I don't love everything
> > that is supposedly good literature - I hate Dickens, for example, but I
> > also really Wuthering Heights, and Robertson Davies, not to mention a
> > lot of modernist and postmodern fiction that other people find
> > disturbingly arcane, or dull or whatever.
> > Robyn
> I agree. After struggling through reviewing the 18th century, I certainly
> don't think I like the entire canon. But, I do really like a lot of
> it, as well as a lot of things which get classified as serious (read:
> dull) art. Just to pick on _Dogville_ because A) it is recent and B) it
> is my Favorite Movie Ever TM, I was rather annoyed when, after seeing it
> and falling passionately in love with it and enjoying it on a very
> visceral level, I read plenty of reviews basically saying, "This is a very
> Deep and Profound movie but not at all enjoyable." Is it Deep and
> Profound? Sure (although some people have also argued that it's shallow).
> But, possibly even because it's Deep and Profound and very stylized, I
> really, really liked it, in exactly the same way I liked, say, _Archer's
> Goon_. I think that kind of thing is fun and neat.
> Doesn't mean I think something needs to be like that to be fun and neat,
> of course - there's more than one way of being fun and neat. But I read
> _Absalom Absalom!_ for the first time in less than a day because I simply
> found myself unable to put it down, it was that good, and while I found
> _Sartor Resartus_ rather harder-going, I wondered if I was going insane
> when the section leader in the class I was discussing it in said that it
> was a given that nobody could possibly like it at all without reading lots
> of critical material explaining the whole thing. Aspects of it were
> annoying as hell, but I still kind of liked it. Just because something is
> formally complicated, I guess I mean to say, doesn't mean that it's
> unenjoyable, anymore than things are unworthy of one's intellect just
> because they're formally simple.
> Prometheus: "Grief for awhile is blind and so was mine. / I wish no living
> thing to suffer pain."
> ---Percy Bysshe Shelley, _Prometheus Unbound_
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