Today’s question from Booking Through Thursday is:
Do you read ‘œliterature’ (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?
I also think of a course I took on ‘œLiterature in the Modern World’, which covered the twentieth century before 1990 and considered what comprises the ‘˜canon’™, the novel, poetry and drama and ‘˜literary theory’™. It was Literature in English, not English Literature and opened up a whole new world of reading to me, including Terry Eagleton’™s writings on literary theory. In considering what is meant by ‘˜fine writing’™ he wrote, ‘œValue-judgements would certainly seem to have a lot to do with what is judged literature and what isn’™t ‘¦’. My thoughts are who is making the value-judgement and why should we take any notice anyway? My English teacher at school once told me I should be less sceptical – sorry, I still am.
I have A Dictionary of Literary Terms by Martin Gray (I bought this for the course). This defines literature as
We’™re back to the value-judgement again and there is much disagreement over what is accepted as being worthy of being read.
Anyway, I do enjoy reading books by Dickens, Tolstoy, and the rest, just so long as I don’™t have to subject them to minute analysis and literary criticism. I prefer to watch Shakespeare’™s plays rather than read them, in fact I prefer to watch any drama rather than reading a play, because after all they were written to be performed.