On Literary Criticism

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Dan Green writes:

I’d have to say that the discipline of literary study has become more than unmoored and confused. I’m afraid that “the overt hostility to aesthetic questions in certain quarters,” as Jonathan puts it, has become the mainstream attitude among academic literary critics. Some writers might still be valued because they can be used to shore up ideological positions, but “literature” as the record and register of literary art is held in contempt, at best the avocation of amateur readers (including bloggers), at worst a fancy instrument of oppression wielded by hyperliterate elites. If the only way works of literature can usefully be brought into the classroom or the pages of academic journals is to examine them for their “social constructions”, or to expressly belittle mere aesthetic questions, in my opinion, as I’ve said here before, the best thing for literature would be to remove it from academic curricula altogether. (links in original)

I agree too. This reminds me of a radio program I just heard with Marcus Miller talking about jazz and playing the bass. He was just wonderful. He talked about jazz, his experience with Miles Davis, and life the way I wished people would get back to talking about literary art (and literary hypertext and hypermedia).

Let’s make it fresh and alive in the spirit of Marcus Miller. Not kill it.


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