Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Constructive linguistics--literature, audiences, miniatures

From:Jim Grossmann <jimg4732@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 22, 2005, 5:15
Current post:

I didn't say that traditional literature aspires to express individual
outlooks in ways that make them interesting to *everyone*, or even most
people.  The "larger audience" to which I referred  was simply an audience
larger than the writer & the people he knows personally, a point which I
should have stated.

Almost all producers of literature produce their works for an audience.
There is an audience for experimental literature that extends beyond one
person and his circle of personal relationships.  So too with literary
novels.  These are not as big as the audience for KISS, but they're bigger
than one writer's little life, just the same.

My idea was that the conlanger takes information interesting to a large
group and uses it for a project that interested mostly the conlanger him- or
herself, which is the opposite of using literary skill to sell a private
outlook in a public medium.

But, Dave, you convinced me that I was wrong.  Maybe I would have been right
before the advent of the internet, but apparently, conlangers *do* read each
other's work, so the audience in question is the conlanging community, to
which individuals reach out by sharing more linguistic visions.

Sally, there may be two senses in which conlangs can be metaphorically
"miniature."  One might be  greater grammatical simplicity than is found in
natural languages.  Another might be the description, not only of the
conlang, but of the conculture of which it is a part.  An imaginary society
may be viewed as a "toy society," one that is bound to be less complex than
a real society for having been envisioned and described by a single person.

BTW, Sally, I wonder if any of those writers that you rub shoulders with can
write as well as John le Carre, or even John Kellerman?  :-)   I wonder how
many others are closet genre writers.   You know, there was this playwrite
who wrote a really long time ago.  Wish I could remember his name;  he wrote
all these comedies, tear-jerkers, & historical dramas;  all full of sex,
violence, and romance.   Talk about genre writing!  The guy must've been a


Previous Posts:

 Jim wrote:
> > <<As for the humanities, I think that artngs stand at odds with the aims
> traditional literature, which generally aspires to express the most > individual outlooks in ways that make them interesting to a larger > population.
Dave wrote:
> That's an odd summation. I wonder how many writers (serious writers) > wrote so that everyone would read what they wrote. That's easy to > believe in today's world, but not in the days of Milton and Spenser.
Sally wrote: Actually, I think that divide is very strong in modern and contemporary literature. Look at James Joyce. Could he have done what he did in Finnegans Wake in the 1600s? I rub shoulders constantly with writers in my department who look down on "genre" writing, considered easy to grasp, dull, bad, and caters to the masses and who elevate "literary writing" because it is complex, difficult, obscure, caters to the intellectual few, and takes narrative and rhetorical risks (which genre writing is assumed not to do, being convention bound and "intelligible.").


Sally Caves <scaves@...>