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February 7th, 2007, 02:37
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
while I have an appreciation for technical competence, I generally scoff at the pretension of the artsy-fartsy types. Did Melville really sit down and say, I'm going to write a book that's actually 7 different symbols at once? Bull, I say. These self-pronounced literary experts are making stuff up to justify their existence as well as justify their lofty egos. You can take any piece of work and interpret it 20 ways if you choose the bits and parts you care to focus on. These self-important puffers have somehow got people to support and endorse their pronouncements as fact, which is then passed on as such to helpless students everywhere. To borrow a phrase, it's "the scene that creates itself." It's not as bad in music, but the principle still stands. I did warn you about a soapbox…
Forget about what literary experts tell you. Dte, you cant really stand on a soapbox and say that there's no difference between Moby Dick and Harlequin #1529. The novel is an art form, but it's true that most novels written are no more than trash. At it's best, though, the novel can be a spiritual exercise, and that's what you get with worthies like Dostoevsky, Balzac, Faulkner, etc. The university can suck the soul out of poetry, that's true, but forget them. Just read the books.
Sorry, I just had to say something, and I wish I was confident enough in writing english to say what I think on the subject. I'd like to recommend an author, though, someone who's written the definitive study of the novel (although the book is much more than that): the man's name is René Girard and the book's title is Mensonge romantique et vérité romanesque. Girard is a frenchmen but he's taught all his life in the states, and I'm certain you can find a translation of the book in english (literaly: Romantic Lie and Novelistic Truth). Give it a try.
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