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Old January 15 2013, 06:54 PM   #67
Geoff Thorne
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

Christopher wrote: View Post
Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
I much preferred Jeffrey Deaver's Bond novel, even though Faulkes is regarded by critics as a literary heavyweight and Deaver as 'merely' a popular author.
I think that's such a spurious distinction, between "literary" and "popular" fiction. Generally it's the more popular stuff that endures through the ages. In Shakespeare's time, plays were popular entertainment, the TV of the era, and it was his sonnets and epic poems that were considered his serious literary accomplishments, but today who remembers Venus and Adonais or A Lover's Complaint? And Arthur Conan Doyle hated that his lowbrow Sherlock Holmes stories got all the attention while his classy literary work was overlooked, but it's Holmes that's endured through the generations. I think it's because the stuff that satisfies the elites of a given place and time is tailored to their ideals and expectations and thus doesn't translate so well to other generations and cultures, while the more popular stuff has more universal appeal.

So I think all that literary-vs.-popular stuff is just a form of elitism, an attempt to subdivide people into approved and disapproved cliques. It's got nothing to do with what's actually well-written or fulfilling. "Literary" is just another subgenre.
yes. this.

i can't abide snobbery and that's largely what this false distinction supports.

I find most "literary" novels pretentious in the extreme and the reason given for their failure to be widely popular is always chalked up to some defect in the larger readership rather than in the author's inability to engage.

I'll add Dickens and Twain to Christopher's list. There are stacks more.

Time and public opinion defines what constitutes literature and, therefore, what is or is not "literary." Not the author's or publisher's intent.
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