Literature Lacks Character

While binaries are almost never true, there is a common division in fiction critique between literature (seen as worthy) and genre (seen as second-rate)—or, to reverse it, between literature (seen as pretentious tedium) and genre (seen as genuine entertainment). Many of those who fall into the second perspective go further, claiming that—rather than a division … Continue reading Literature Lacks Character

Some Notes Towards A Meta-epistemological Manifesto

Genre collapses if viewed too closely: urban fantasy has computers, smart-phones, and such, so contains both the science-fiction of a past generation and the seeds of the hard science-fiction of the present; action films have a handsome hero overcoming obstacles before getting the girl at the end, so are romance. Genre boundaries don’t exist.

And this article from Misha Burnett shows we should perhaps be grateful they don’t.

mishaburnett

I had an epiphany today.

I have always mistrusted the concept of genre.  It has seemed to me to be both a hobble and a crutch.  By which I mean that by accepting a specific genre designation an author restricted her or his writing to an abbreviated range, while at the same time adjuring readers to carry the story past certain difficulties by imposing on an unearned suspension of disbelief.

This did not seem to be a good bargain to me–from either side.

Today it occurred to me that this unnatural division of stories into either this thing or that thing but never both at once mirrors the description that G K Chesterton gives of post-Christian philosophies in his book Orthodoxy.

Chesterton says it much more eloquently that I am about to (which is why I supplied you with the link) but in essence his thesis is that Christianity…

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Thinking Beyond The Plane Of Genre: Guest Post by Misha Burnett

In a variation from both the usual schedule and usual author, today's post is written by Misha Burnett whose novel, Catskinner's Book, I reviewed last Friday. For more of his thoughts on this, and other topics, I recommend his blog. Euclid defined geometry with five postulates. The fifth of these is the “parallel postulate” which … Continue reading Thinking Beyond The Plane Of Genre: Guest Post by Misha Burnett