Re: Constructive linguistics--literature, audiences, miniatures
|From:||Sally Caves <scaves@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, February 22, 2005, 14:39|
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Grossmann" <jimg4732@...>
> 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.
That's a good point, Jim.
> 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-
> herself, which is the opposite of using literary skill to sell a private
> outlook in a public medium.
Again, a good point.
> But, Dave, you convinced me that I was wrong. Maybe I would have been
> before the advent of the internet, but apparently, conlangers *do* read
> 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
> natural languages. Another might be the description, not only of the
> conlang, but of the conculture of which it is a part. An imaginary
> may be viewed as a "toy society," one that is bound to be less complex
> a real society for having been envisioned and described by a single
This is really so interesting... I was looking at the archives, and in
August of 2001 everybody was talking very positively about models and
miniatures, especially Matt Pearson. The conscientious objector was Irina,
who has always hated these terms. Now a number of us seem to be cautious of
> BTW, Sally, I wonder if any of those writers that you rub shoulders with
> write as well as John le Carre, or even John Kellerman? :-)
They think they do! It's all a matter of taste. I'm still bewildered by
all the conventions out there, the schools, the traditions, the GENRES... I
think one of the affectations some of my learned friends have is that what
they do does not fall into a GENRE. Of course it does. The prose poem, the
intellectual novel, the plotless novel, the experimental, the avant-garde.
All of these are genres. What THEY mean by genre is "science fiction,"
"horror," "mystery," "fantasy," "detective fiction," i.e., the books that
get shelved with those rubrics over them, and which are considered
conventionally written, whereas what they write gets shelved in a section in
the book store called "LITERATURE."
> 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
> all these comedies, tear-jerkers, & historical dramas; all full of sex,
> violence, and romance. Talk about genre writing! The guy must've been a
LAUGHING OUT LOUD!! I'm sure that Shakespeare would leap on your word
"hack" and find ways to neologize, distort, and pun with it. "You
fen-sucking preposterous hack! Hack me no hack! Hoe me no hoe; marry, but
thou wast always a cut below par!"
> 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
> 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,
> bad, and caters to the masses and who elevate "literary writing" because
> 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.").