Tuesday, October 19, 2004

HARPER'S Letters 2000: What Was Printed

"Francine Prose subscribes to the museum conception of literature: important, slow, careful, and mummified. To her, literature is something that humans must strain to adapt to, instead of something that adapts to us. It is a god residing far above. All honor the high holy most unknowable Great Literature!

This approach may serve the top fifth percentile of overeducated liberals in the leisure class who can afford to dawdle over every word, but the rest of us want more. We expect literature to reflect a world that often is made up of good guys and bad guys, right and wrong, good and evil. Great writers like Charles Dickens, Frank Norris, and, at his best, John Steinbeck, understood this, which is why they are still popular, still relevant, still cherished, and still read."

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