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norwaywolf123

High VS Low Litterature

60 posts in this topic

11 hours ago, Buckwheat said:

Both? What is the difference in this context? I think art is a form of culture as a whole.

What is the function of art? How is art percieved?

What is literatures function? Does different forms of literature have different function? I would say yes as some literature is written to earn profit, others to relay a message or belief. Does the purpose of the writer have any impact on how the text is recived and what kind of text is constructed?

11 hours ago, Buckwheat said:

literature being used as the opposite of "elite" literature.

"Genre" or "general"? Do you refer to popular, as in the literature of the masses?

11 hours ago, Buckwheat said:

Our professor does an interesting experiment with different groups of students where he shows two excerpts from literary texts: one from a classical work (national canon) and one that was not accepted as a classic/a part of the national canon. From the excerpt itself it is basically impossible to tell the difference. Which means the text itself is not the only factor that gives some author/text a classical status.

Do you think the texts from the litterary canon of a nation, nationstate, religion, corporation or any other organisation is neccesarily "high literature"? Examples like the icelandic saga of the icelanders or the bible of christianity.

11 hours ago, Buckwheat said:

In my national literature, a big thing was the making of a nation through literature and establishing the language as a language worthy of having its own literature in the 19th century (because the nation was not free politically, they at least tried to establish themselves culturally and linguistically). No clue where you come from and how it was done there.

What kind of literture was important in building the national idea? To me it seems to be focused on the deeds of predecessors, their thoughts and beliefs. Aswell as a constructed image of the ideal ancestor in the image of the present.

11 hours ago, Buckwheat said:

Academics wanting to feel smart is an important part of it too.

Sounds vain on the part of the axademics to me.

11 hours ago, Buckwheat said:

Also: In English, the word "literature" is spelled with one T. It is right there in the header of this forum.

Thank you. I have corrected my spellings now. ;) 

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On 10.11.2017 at 0:31 PM, GAROVORKIN said:

Some day the works of Harold Robbins and Jacquline Susan will be included in the ranks of classical literature.

Is classical literature neccesarily "high litterature"? I guess the argument that works of "high literature" have been better preserved than "popular literature" could be made as elites have had more acess to documents and the means to preserve them.

16 hours ago, GAROVORKIN said:

Today's crap is tomorrows classics. Give it about a 200 plus years and are you forgetting Star Trek the Voyage Home  Kirk and Spock's   conversation about the giants of literature ? :D

That is one view on the matter.

Edited by norwaywolf123

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Do you have any statements from yourself, or just questions for others? It really looks like you are asking us to write your school assignment for you.

I feel like I am being interrogated by a professor to be graded, honestly.

Edited by Buckwheat

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18 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

VERSUS PREDATOR

versus sixteenth century pirates and samurai

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17 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

versus sixteenth century pirates and samurai

Wait, without the templar knights?

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6 hours ago, norwaywolf123 said:

Is classical literature neccesarily "high litterature"? I guess the argument that works of "high literature" have been better preserved than "popular literature" could be made as elites have had more acess to documents and the means to preserve them.

That is on view on the matter.

A good portion of what we call classical literature started out as popular literature. 

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21 hours ago, norwaywolf123 said:

Would you agree that Shakesspear is an example of high litterature? Do you disagree with the concept of seperating "high litterature" from "low or popular litterature"? Why did you think that distinction was made? What litterary works do universitites pretend to be high litterature, science, humanities?

I think Shakespeare shows the ridiculousness of the distinction since he was a writer of comedies, tragedies, and histories for mass public appeal. I generally think classicism played a major role in trying to keep the two sides separate when they were never meant to be in the first place.

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19 minutes ago, C.T. Phipps said:

I think Shakespeare shows the ridiculousness of the distinction since he was a writer of comedies, tragedies, and histories for mass public appeal. I generally think classicism played a major role in trying to keep the two sides separate when they were never meant to be in the first place.

I think Shakespeare kind of underlines why the distinction is made. Quality writing becomes some form of high literature over time. It endures. It outlives its' author. It remains entertaining or funny or enlightening even when taken out of context. It is effectively timeless. That's what defines a classic, more or less.

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From a certain linguistic perspective one could make the case that the airport novel is the only true form of 'high literature'.

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1 hour ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

I think Shakespeare kind of underlines why the distinction is made. Quality writing becomes some form of high literature over time. It endures. It outlives its' author. It remains entertaining or funny or enlightening even when taken out of context. It is effectively timeless. That's what defines a classic, more or less.

Good isn't the definition of high brow, though.

Especially since the irony was Shakespeare was considered the low brow of his day versus some of his contemporaries.

Ditto Mozart.

Arthur Conan Doyle was the guy who just did weekly stories in The Stand.

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If you define high literature as something that outlives its own time due to certain unique qualities of its own, I doubt if a lot of the "classics" will actually hold up. Several of them come over as being extremely dated. A good example is War and Peace. A good portion of the second portion of the book including the entire second epilogue is basically Tolstoy's meditation on the nature of history and providence. And it is extremely dated. Practically everything he says can be traced back to people like Kant and Hegel who were also vocal about the nature of history during the late 18th - early 19th century. Tolstoy's observations are mostly stale and lack relevance as the scholarly debate has of course moved on. All those sections do is bog down what would otherwise have been a pretty good book. 

I think a lot of the books remain classics due to the innate conservatism of the literary establishment. As many commenters have pointed out, it is the lowbrow "popular" literature that has often withstood the test of time - Shakespeare being the most prominent example. 

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What about writers like  Philip K Dick or H P Lovecraft. Have they not achieved a classical status ? 

Or Conan Doyle ,  Dashiell Hammet Raymond Chandler, Cornell Woolrich, Agatha Christe, Dorothy  Sayers ? 

Edited by GAROVORKIN

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5 hours ago, polishgenius said:

From a certain linguistic perspective one could make the case that the airport novel is the only true form of 'high literature'.

Heh, good one.

4 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Good isn't the definition of high brow, though.

The quality of the writing is supposed to be the main factor for a text to achieve the classical/elite status. But you are right that it is not the only one and "quality" is extremely subjective in art.

4 hours ago, Andorion said:

I think a lot of the books remain classics due to the innate conservatism of the literary establishment. As many commenters have pointed out, it is the lowbrow "popular" literature that has often withstood the test of time - Shakespeare being the most prominent example. 

My go-to example is Goethe's Werther. It was a very popular novel in his time, and today it is a "classic" to bore high-schoolers with.

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18 hours ago, Buckwheat said:

Do you have any statements from yourself, or just questions for others? It really looks like you are asking us to write your school assignment for you.

Personally i think that the purpose of the text is most important when it comes to grade it as "high" or "low" literature. A work of high literature has a purpose to teach something, reveal something. Make a person question himself, a truth, a statement. High literture is supossed to improve the reader as an individual. While low literture or popular litertures aims to entertain or earn money.

Quote

I feel like I am being interrogated by a professor to be graded, honestly.

Sorry, it is not my intention.

Edited by norwaywolf123

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11 hours ago, GAROVORKIN said:

A good portion of what we call classical literature started out as popular literature. 

I get that. But could the pasts popular literature while being seen as classical literture, still be popular literature or does it change form when it ages? Does it become high litterature when it has become a classic?

7 hours ago, Andorion said:

If you define high literature as something that outlives its own time due to certain unique qualities of its own, I doubt if a lot of the "classics" will actually hold up. Several of them come over as being extremely dated. A good example is War and Peace. A good portion of the second portion of the book including the entire second epilogue is basically Tolstoy's meditation on the nature of history and providence. And it is extremely dated. Practically everything he says can be traced back to people like Kant and Hegel who were also vocal about the nature of history during the late 18th - early 19th century. Tolstoy's observations are mostly stale and lack relevance as the scholarly debate has of course moved on. All those sections do is bog down what would otherwise have been a pretty good book. 

I am trying to understand the concept of "high and low literture" as something timeless, or present in the moment of today and the literatures release.

But it is intrested that some literture that would be called low brow in its day, is considered high literture now.

Intresting commentary on the Tolstoy!

Quote

I think a lot of the books remain classics due to the innate conservatism of the literary establishment. As many commenters have pointed out, it is the lowbrow "popular" literature that has often withstood the test of time - Shakespeare being the most prominent example. 

This guy Jason Carney focused on high literture in pulp magazines more often seen as more lowbrow. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBu8vSQdL84

What i am more intrested in is the description of the concepts "high literture" and "low literture".

3 hours ago, Buckwheat said:

The quality of the writing is supposed to be the main factor for a text to achieve the classical/elite status. But you are right that it is not the only one and "quality" is extremely subjective in art.

Maybe it is some qualities like making a person question him/herself, question observations, question what you have been told, question the common wisdom, question the status quo?

Quote

My go-to example is Goethe's Werther. It was a very popular novel in his time, and today it is a "classic" to bore high-schoolers with.

I have not read Goethe's Werther but i have heard it is about the transition from youth to manhood.

8 hours ago, polishgenius said:

From a certain linguistic perspective one could make the case that the airport novel is the only true form of 'high literature'.

Funny :) 

Edited by norwaywolf123

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I don't like these distinctions. Obviously some literature is more intellectual than others, but there's no objective criteria, and just having two catagories is reductive.

People have already mentioned Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes' stories are another. I recently read a short story collection- it's fun and readable, but insanely formulaic. If you came out with a short story collection like that today, you would get absolutely slaughtered.

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51 minutes ago, norwaywolf123 said:

Personally i think that the purpose of the text is most important when it comes to grade it as "high" or "low" literature. A work of high literature has a purpse to teach something, reveal something. Make a person question himself, a truth, a statement. High literture is supossed to improve the reader as an individual. While low literture or popular litertures aims to entertain or earn money.

Maybe your expression here is not the best, or I do not understand correctly - are you talking about the purpose of an auther while writing a text? Because they might have some great purpose while they write, and then they don't manage to achieve that purpose, and the text is not as good as the author intended it to be. Or, on the other hand, we now see something as classical, great literature, and it was not meant that way by the author.

Ancient tragedies were actually parts of rituals and not made for the purpose we see in "literature" today. Shakespeare, as has been mentioned, intended to entertain.

I do not think "purpose" is a good word. The text is the end product and what was intended by it is not relevant (or we might not even know, because the author is dead and we cannot ask him and do not have any direct sources that reveal his purposes).

37 minutes ago, norwaywolf123 said:

I get that. But could the pasts popular literature while being seen as classical literture, still be popular literature or does it change form when it ages?

Yes? Why not? There is no reason why something really interesting to the audience should not stay interesting if it can still be relevant and understandable away from the original context. Jane Austen, for example, is considered classical literature, and I do not think she is unpopular.

37 minutes ago, norwaywolf123 said:

I have not read Goethe's Werther but i have heard it is about the transition from youth ot manhood.

Hmmmm ... IDK if that would be the exact wording I would use. :P

3 minutes ago, mankytoes said:

I don't like these distinctions. Obviously some literature is more intellectual than others, but there's no objective criteria, and just having two catagories is reductive.

Yes. Very much.

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