Monday, March 28, 2011

Response To A Response To A Response

Anti-Climacus takes aim at Withywindle's comment over at Phoebe's place.

FLG thinks there is some merit to the 50-100 year timeframe, even if it is arbitrary.

While FLG agrees that there are those who would use it to wall off post-modernist texts, for him at least, what makes a book great is that it says something powerful about the human condition that is applicable across time, place, and culture. Analyzing something new is very much like looking at a painting when you're too close. Oftentimes, you get a fuzzy and unclear image.

This isn't to say that new works don't say something timeless and universal about the human condition, some of them most certainly do, but sometimes it's difficult to ascertain what is powerful in that time and place and what is timeless and universal.

1 comment:

Hilarius Bookbinder said...

Agreed to the last sentence, but I think the 50-100 year mark does tend to forget how works get to that level in the first place, which is the response of first readers. To borrow from Maugham in Cakes and Ale:

"The elect sneer at popularity; they are inclined even to assert that it is proof of mediocrity; but they forget that posterity makes its choice not from among the unknown writers of a period, but from among the known. It may be that some great masterpiece which deserves immortality has fallen still-born from the press, but posterity will never hear of it; it may be that posterity will scrap all the best sellers of our day, but it is among them that it must choose."

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