WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Yes, literature is elitist… thank God!

I notice this older post has been getting a lot of hits lately. Who knows why, but the theme is still relevant. Art is hard, somebody said …

WHAT THE HELL

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A while back, Salon’s Laura Miller asked the musical question, “Is the literary world elitist?”

My short answer? Yes.

Because it’s supposed to be. The word “literary” has a certain connotation, after all. In fact, the first definition of it in my dictionary says, “Concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, esp. of the kind valued for quality of form.” A few synonyms include: scholarly, learned, poetic, artistic, intellectual, cultured, erudite, and highbrow. Oh, and “bluestocking.” (Not sure what that is…)

Anyway, yes. The literary world is by definition elitist, but to my mind there’s nothing wrong with elitism. If we pretend to care about quality and cutting-edge, then it figures (to me, anyway) that elites in the various fields of endeavor — from the military to the academic to the creative — will be the ones to lead us. What am I not getting about this?

Miller’s essay…

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3 comments on “Yes, literature is elitist… thank God!

  1. Audrey Driscoll
    May 28, 2017

    Good post. I wonder if the increased hits are because of the word “elitist.” Isn’t there a notion afoot that Trump represents “anti-elitists”? A while ago I heard a piece on the radio suggesting that “gravitas” is in short supply these days — being serious about anything is out, yukking it up shows you’re a real, honest person, not one of those snooty elitists. Yet another deplorable trend of our times…

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 29, 2017

      Thanks, Audrey. And I agree about the gravitas thing. It’s like anything that’s not instantly digestible is highbrow and somehow inauthentic. Meanwhile we can’t get enough “Housewives of Mar-a-Lago.” And, of course, the way Trump behaved in Europe is manna to the salt of the earths who don’t read literary novels, watch foreign movies, or listen to jazz. Ugh.

  2. 1WriteWay
    June 3, 2017

    An oldie but goodie 🙂

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This entry was posted on May 28, 2017 by in Publishing.
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