A Great Link on Literature

A really fun article on how the overuse of the indirect free style kills literature and produces idiot readers.

This part made me smile because it is exactly how I teach it in class:

As soon as movies were invented, writers began focusing on inward thought. Writers had to ask themselves a new question, Why bother? Conrad, a master writer working at the height of his powers with the efforts of constant revisions, can make you see. So can any schmuck with a camera. Why write a book rather than a movie script? What can the written word do that other forms of art can’t?

Writers, then and now, arrived at thought, or access to interior. A novel can get inside a person’s head in a way that a camera can’t. A camera will almost always be better at portraying the world because we experience the world through sight, but we experience ourselves through thought, and thought is inexorably intertwined with language. Film could never portray interior life the way William Faulkner throws you into Quentin Compton’s head.

Read the whole thing. I don’t anticipate reading anything better online today and I read a lot online.

4 thoughts on “A Great Link on Literature”

  1. Thank you for the article link. It’s been a while since I read an article online that required more than five minutes of thought and wasn’t utterly predictable.


  2. I enjoyed that! Had noticed the phenomenon of books wanking their readers off earlier, but it’s interesting to see a precise analysis of just how that gets done.

    Think the article was a little bit self-defeating with the little mandatory “of course, despite my analysis being dead-on and far-reaching, nothing in particular needs to be done to improve the state of affairs” at the end. “What we need is more awareness of the issue” is how I ended any reports I cobbled together the night before, and this essay’s certainly good enough that it doesn’t need to end with tripe of that kind.


  3. “It is the reader who has become God .” Thank you for sharing this great essay! I will use it in my intro to lit. analysis class.


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