Oh dear, genre

June 1, 2008

I had a conversation with someone about literary genres the other day.

This acquaintance of mine, who I will call John for ease’s sake, is very much into literature, and especially classic American literature. But not just any classic American literature–he is a huge fan of American Modernism. In fact, American Modernism is almost disturbingly similar to him as a person. I can’t read any Hemingway without automatically thinking, hey, this is just like John.

I, myself, am very much Postmodern, and not just because I was born almost a decade after John (oh, terrible jokes, how I love thee). There are a number of themes common to Postmodernism (here is a handy list, courtesy of Wikipedia), but the one that always sticks out in my mind is the one that my old art history teacher used to emphasise so much: the juxtaposition of high art and low art.

So, you see, the reason that you’ll find reviews of both ‘real’ literature, and genre fiction straight from the literary ghetto, is because I’m expressing my Postmodernist tendencies. At least, if you are the kind of person who is bothered by ‘low fiction’, you can tell yourself this, and then feel slightly less guilty for wanting to read about aliens and explosions.

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