Tuesday, February 05, 2008

That old old argument

Galleycat today summarizes a story that will probably provide blog fodder for at least a week.

Tuesday Feb 05, 2008

The Ol' Genre vs. Literatute Debate, Again

Sunday's NY Times "Week in Review" featured a short essay by Charles McGrath that takes inspiration from the recent case of Joan Brady, an author who recently made headlines in England for an out-of-court settlement from a shoe factory near her home for physical damages and what the press initially categorized as, in McGrath's summation, "a loss of concentration that caused her to abandon the literary novel she was working on... and instead crank out a potboiler."

"What's behind the Brady controversy," McGrath writes, "is the assumption that genre fiction—mysteries, thrillers, romances, horror stories—is a form of literary slumming."

Ed here: for eighteen years I edited Mystery Scene and for too many years I refeered dust-ups over which was "better" hardboiled or cozy. I finally got tired of running them and concluded, with my usual brilliance, that we read what gives us pleasure. That pleasure can be emotional, intellectual. philosphical, sexual but fiction has to enrich us in some ways. Yes, most cozies are false representations of reality. So are most novels of the tougher strain. And as for genre being literature...mostly I don't give a rat's ass if it's literature or not. The argument yea or nay gets tedious, usually ending with somebody offering sweeping praise for books that are probably fine genre novels but not my idea of real literature.

NOTICE: I need a webmaster. Somebody who dosn't charge too much, somebody reliable.(This is optional of course-- somebody who can make me tall, handsome brilliant, wealthy and cure my cancer while he/she is at it.) Let me know if you know somebody Thanks, Ed


Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

No fiction escapes genre. Doesn't happen.

Graham Powell said...

Asked to comment for our story, Joan Brady replied, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!"