I am still mulling over a longer more involved discussion of the issues touched on in the rant below on high and low culture. Mark at the Elegant Variation touched on the post in passing and the Literary Saloon seemed puzzled as to what the issue was all about anyway. Other than that, it really hasn’t engendered much debate. Not surprising as these bloggers generally post about things that interest them rather than rants emailed to them by me. The thing is still bouncing around in my head, however, so expect more posts when I get the chance.
UPDATE: Dan Green at The Reading Experience has an intelligent critique. I will have to re-evaluate my thesis, or at least the terms involved.
But here is something to chew on in the meantime. What role does truth play in literature? When you look to read literature, as opposed to a paperback thriller or escapist reading, are you looking for truth? Is it fair to say that great literature uses un-truth, i.e. fiction, to get at a deeper truth? Does it help you know yourself better? Does it provide insight into some fundamental issue of life?
Or perhaps are you simply seeking a higher level of craftsmanship. Is the difference between literature and pulp (to use TNR’s label) only the quality of writing; the skill involved? In this way can genre by its quality and craft rise above its category into literature?
Maybe readers and bloggers would rather not address this abstraction; maybe my lack of an MFA causes me to find these questions interesting while the better schooled have moved on. If you have a thought or opinion on any of this let me know . . .