>Literature as Work of Art

>Yesterday I finished Larry Woiwode’s first volume of memoirs, What I Think I Did: A Season of Survival in Two Acts. It’s a work of art.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Woiwode (a piece that will appear in the August 4, 2006, Christian Renewal), and was struck by a lot of things he said.

I’m not going to quote him at length here and create a spoiler for the CR interview, but I asked him about something that I’ve been trying to pin down for a long time: What constitutes literary excellence and how can writers and readers become more discerning?

His answer about literary excellence hit something I’d never considered: targeting markets. But his answer about more discernment completely confirmed my own belief: readers and writers need more exposure to great books of the past.

Great books of the past become classics when they are well-written and touch a common chord of humanity that links the present reader with the past writer. That chord resonating recognition of shared human experience, despite time and culture differences, is essential. But the writing must be of such quality that the reader puts it down with satisfaction and thinks, “Now that was a work of art!”

What I Think I Did is. Buy it.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “>Literature as Work of Art

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s