Friday, January 09, 2015

Lit Crit

My husband is catching up on Southern Literature right now.  He commented on the "morose nostalgia" of most of the stories.  I agreed, the glumness is one of the things that puts me off so many of them.  There's an attitude not of "can do" but "shoulda done", and the "shoulda dones" usually happened long before we were born.  It's easy to see why there was a tendency to experiment with magical realism even before Garcia Marquez invented it, and for the same reason; the fantastical elements (or in Faulkner's case, ornate verbiage) entertain you while the characters go to such great lengths to shoot themselves in the foot, and you later find out in flashbacks were doomed before they even got started.  In too many writers it's a glumness only alleviated by "dumb redneck" jokes, and how many of them does a person want to read?  A body needs a few cautionary tales to tell them what mistakes not to make, but there is a greater need for tales where problems are shown to be solvable with the right mental tool set.

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