Saturday, March 23, 2013

What Literature Isn't

Book Review: How Literature Saved My Life by David Shields

Before David Shields makes any declaration about literature's impact on his life, methinks he should first learn what literature is.

How Literature Saved My Life is yet another in a series of recent books that seems to be no more than a series of randomly connected blog posts strung together. In fact Mr. Shields actually states that a blog IS literature - stating that he simply does not have the time to read more. I suppose that explains this disconnected series of 'tweets' about books that he has written, or purportedly read.

Literature consists of "writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features" Assembling sound bites from other authors, no matter what THEIR credentials may be, does not make one an author.

The stream of consciousness method has been utilized to exceptionally better and more telling effect than Mr. Shields manages to produce. If the intent behind How Literature Saved My Life is to exhibit a lack of sophistication in modern readers, it succeeds.

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