Monday, March 28, 2016

Light reading that does not challenge the reader

Where bad literature makes good reading - A professor and students in an English course at Juniata College discuss what makes a book ‘crap’ By Bill Schackner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette March 27, 2016 12:00 AM
Professor Peter Goldstein teaches a course called Bad Literature at Juniata College. In it, his students read some of the poorer examples of published prose in hopes of answering the question: “What do we mean when we say a work is ‘crap?’”
Make no mistake, the introductory course debuting this semester has a goal beyond bashing the predictable plot of Danielle Steel’s “Matters of the Heart” or the two-dimensional characters in Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight.” By examining literature that is flawed, the 21 students in the course are encouraged to think critically about what’s involved in writing, both good and bad.
“What do we mean when we say literature is ‘crap’?’’ asks Mr. Goldstein, 60. “Is it just individual opinion, or are there objective standards that characterize literature that is good and literature that is not?”
The class also examines why the public devours works not held up as literary masterpieces the way a kid snarfs down junk food. For example, Ms. Meyer’s “Twilight” received mixed book reviews but was a New York Times bestseller that spawned wildly successful movies.
“It was part of the teen vampire craze,” said Mr. Goldstein. “It is in some ways ground zero for the consideration of bad literature — a high school girl who falls in love with a vampire — a story that was unbelievably, ridiculously popular.”
Say what you will about Ms. Steel’s writing style and character development, but the public devours her books too. With more than 800 million copies sold, she is the best-selling author alive and the fourth-bestselling author of all time.
In general, said Mr. Goldstein, page-turning, light reading that does not challenge the reader goes down easier than heavy literature. “Crap is going to sell better than non-crap,” he said.

Love of All Wisdom by Amod Lele
An aesthetic of extremes - Vikram Chandra’s Geek Sublime might be the most popular book in a Western language ever to deal with Indian aesthetic theory. The book’s official subject is the aesthetics of computer science. Though I am getting a degree in computer science myself, I found myself more interested in Chandra’s lucid comments about the medieval Indian philosophers Ānandavardhana and Abhinavagupta and their theory of rasa, the emotional “tastes” that an artistic audience can savour. … Continue reading →
When an “us” is spoken of in contemporary works of philosophical application it is often glossed with “a modern Western audience”... Above all, what I am seeing here is a rejection of moderation in aesthetics, something that I think might be implicit in Chandra’s mention of Aristotle.
This point in turn leads back into an aesthetic point I had myself made with its primary reference to the West: the critics of kitsch are wrong to tell us we should avoid making a fantasy world more beautiful or pleasurable than the real one. Rather, we should remain aware that such a world isn’t the real one, remain all too aware of the badness of the world: enjoy Thomas Kinkade as long as you also appreciate Hieronymus Bosch. I’d rather look at either Bosch or Dalì on one hand, or Indian poster art on the other, than at what has always struck me as the muted blandness of a Monet. 

The Collaboration of Nature by Richard Pearson - *Editor's note* "A new world is born". The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have worked ceaselessly to bring a new consciousness on earth, - the Supramental or ...

Comparing the Methodology of the Gnosis With the Reasoning Intellect - The reasoning intellect begins its process by a process of observation of external facts through the sense-organs. From these facts, it applies the faculti...

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