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Comment: Re:So what? (Score 1) 371

by blank101 (#19307807) Attached to: Bookstore Owner Burns Books

No. There's a fine distinction between writing an entertaining or interesting book and writing a book that has literary merit, just as there's a difference between an entertaining film or a film that has artistic merit. Generally, the distinction hinges upon the work's amenability to literary analysis and evaluation--a novel can be deeply entertaining while having shallow, flat characters and saying nothing beyond a reaffirmation of the author's political biases (most Tom Clancy novels) or a novel can be a deep and insightful exploration of the human condition, capturing strong and sophisticated characters (most of Dickens' work).
Literary analysis? This distinction exists because some people want to make money/fame of it, not because some books (by dead white guys or by distinctly not dead white guys) are "good." In the end, those people do have some say in what survives history, but it's not because of factually determinable feature like "insight into the human condition" or other such BS. Plenty of say also resides in the masses that *read* books (this is part Dickens success, fyi--he was a pop novelist).

In other news, I think both Clancy and Dickens suck. But I recently discovered I like Stephen King, and suspect he has enough of the critically acclaimable malarky to get their vote as well.

One has to look out for engineers -- they begin with sewing machines and end up with the atomic bomb. -- Marcel Pagnol

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