Enduring vs Enjoying

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Jan 20 07:14:52 EST 2005


Allison weebled gently:

>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.

Well, that was what I understood you to mean by what you said, and since I
simply agree I didn't bother to post saying "AOL".  I did contemplate a
horrible play on words about the difference between enduring literature and
endearing literature, but surely you are glad I refrained?

Speaking of enduring literature, in the sense lit that lasts, on another
list we seem to be having a conversation about novels and novelists from
the 1920s that/who are now in the Oxford Companion to English Literature,
and those that/who are not in that noteworthy Lit'ry Tome but were
enormously popular at the time.  Sort of Jeffrey Archer versus Salman
Rushdie, as it were; Rushdie of course being in the OxCompLit already,
though only as "see under Magic Realism" so far.  It is surprising how
little overlap we have found between the two categories.

And didn't we have a conversation here a while back about why it should be
that funny books almost never seem to make it into the Literature category?
It's as though something that moves the reader to laughter could never
make a serious point, in the eyes of the literary snobs.  Their loss, say
I, and dive happily back into P.G. Wodehouse.

Minnow


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