Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Entertain?

I have a couple links today.  The first on is to an article you may have heard about.  Alexander Nazaryan believes that "The purpose of literature is to elevate.  Not to entertain"  I'm a big fan of trying to improve myself.  Why else would I be putting this much time and effort into blogging and writing.  But what in the world is wrong with trying to do both?  The author talks a lot of his experience teaching and how the classics were much better suited to the inner city child because why would they want books they could identify with?  He also reminisces about reading "Martial's epigrams".  I graduated in Comparative Literature and have never heard of them.  Pardon my ignorance. But in the article he said he was reading about, "fellatio and anal sex"  from Martial and that the kids were rolling around laughing and talking about it.  How in the world is that enlightening them as opposed to entertaining them?  Snort.  I'm a huge fan of classics but not everyone can identify with classics.  And, come on, weren't most classics written the same way we write our books?  Someone who wanted to tell a story.  Homer just wrote down the stories that were told by traveling  storytellers to entertain. 

Anyway.  That's all I want to say about that.  On a happier note, here is a fun post about beginnings complete with examples.  I got an idea for a story just by reading them.  Enjoy!

Have you found any great links lately?

17 comments:

  1. I did hear about that article and I find it really annoying. I agree, what's wrong with accomplishing both? And what's wrong with just being entertained? Sometimes that's all I need and want.

    I'll check out the other link, because heaven knows I need help with beginnings.

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    1. Exactly! Hope the second link proves useful.

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  2. YAY! I'm excited to read the beginnings post! I'll have to look into the other one... It sounds interesting!

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  3. I agree--Go for both!
    BTW, the Martial epigrams *are* entertaining...in the original Latin. They're witty and tongue in cheek, but in English, they're blatant. Blame that info on an overly educated historian. ; P

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    1. Yay, I'm glad someone knew what it was. I was beginning to feel dumb.

      And you backed up my point. Most classics weren't written as classics. They were written to entertain and were good enough (or popular enough) to survive.

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    2. No, they weren't. In fact, the only one I can think of is Virgil's Aeneid. He *planned* to write a grand epic poem to tell of Rome's founding in the style of the already classic Illiad and Odyssey.

      Gak! You want me to stop teaching history now. (shaking head at all the info I have that I don't use any more) ; )

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    3. I don't want you to stop teaching history. I plan to continue learning so SOMEBODY better keep teaching. :)

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  4. I read and write for entertainment, not elevation. I get that from an elevator. *g*

    The thing that bothers me from that article is how little the writer knows about YA and how widely he paints with his brush. First of all, those boys are *reading*. That itself is a huge accomplishment. Second, they're probably reading Myers because they don't want to read Homer. *I* don't want to read Homer. Third, getting teens to do anything is all about how you sell it to them. A friend of mine teaches high school English. She was having trouble getting her class into poetry. I suggested she read to them from A PIZZA THE SIZE OF THE SUN. Jack Prelutsky is for kids, but all teens can relate to pizza. It worked. So I'm not at all surprised by this writer's ability to read sex from the classics and capture teens interest. Duh.

    Also, there was a movement on Twitter not that long ago called "YA Saves". There *are* girls, beaten down, opening books and laughing. Maybe it's not the "classics" but it's still books.

    What a dumb article.

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    1. lol. He did have a lot of sweeping statements. I read Homer, but I doubt he'd be top of the list for a re-read.

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  5. I'm all for both.

    I hate it when someone thinks that something needs to be old to be worth reading. Makes me CRAZY. There is SO much modern literature worth a read.

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    1. Drives me crazy too. The only reason it got to be old was because people read and enjoyed it when it was new!

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  6. Ooooh I love the beginnings link! Definitely throws up a lot of inspiration :-)

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  7. I truly believe that whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, you are telling a story. I wrote a TON of articles about aging and caregiving and I always used real people's stories to make the points. Otherwise, I'd have been bored myself!!! I believe it's both, always both. Even in the most serious non-fiction piece, there is an element of presentation that equates to "storytelling".

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    1. Thanks for bringing up non-fiction. A fellow once asked about a biography I was reading. He wanted to know if it was a novel about the person. I said No, that it was non-fiction but read like a novel. He looked at me so strangely I asked if he understood. He said No, he'd never thought non-fiction could be interesting. As you said there is (or should be) an element of storytelling in non-fiction. I don't think you can completely separate edification and entertainment.

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  8. Hmm, there was a great post on a similar topic the other day over at Ironical Coincidings. I think you're right - all the classics were also written to tell a story. Each person learns/gleans from a novel different lessons at different times of life.

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