23 July 2005

Irresponsible Plasticity

      Howard Jacobson has a terrific piece in today's Guardian that this blog would consider essential reading for those that purport to study literature.   In addition to a dynamite concluding paragraph, which in many ways echoes ideas I've expressed on this blog and in discussions in and out of the classroom, I'd like to call attention to this paragraph:

The other proof of our philistinism is our politicising of literature. I am not thinking only of the hijacking of book programmes and literary festivals by the current-affairs mob, I also mean the excitement generated by the idea that a novel, or indeed a clutch of novels, has, say, 9/11 as its subject matter. There is, of course, no reason why it shouldn't. But there is equally no reason why it should.
Philistinism: what a perfect assessment, not just of literature itself in this day and age, but also by the leading critics and discussants of it.   I can just imagine so many of my onetime colleagues but-but-butting their way to defending their philistinism.

1 comment:

Jim M. said...

" To be intimidated by the literature you have been taught to love is no bad thing: the proof of a good education is not the unembarrassed production of tosh."

This must explain why my great novel is, as yet, unwritten!

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