Monday, June 6, 2011

Ursula K. Le Guin on Genre and "Literary" Fiction

Ursula K. Le Guin is writing a series of essays for Book View Café, a site in which she is one of the founding members. The essays fall under the heading "Petty Expectations," and Part One is entitled: "Critical Expectation: Genre and 'Literary' Fiction."

I'll leave you to read the essay(s) in it entirety if you so choose, but I did want to share with you a quote from the essay, and hopefully intrigue you enough to seek out Book View Café. To set the stage, Ms. Le Guin is responding to a quote by Terence Rafferty from the New York Times Sunday Book Review on February 4, 2011:

The distinction Mr Rafferty draws between literary and genre fiction, though cherished by many critics and teachers, was never very useful and is by now worse than useless. The opposition — genre rushing hell-for-leather and plotbound to resolution, literature meandering sweetly like a brainless tot in a folktale forest — is absurd.
—Ursula K. Le Guin

It's always a pleasure to see someone of Ms. Le Guin's reputation not pulling any punches when it comes to this pointless dichotomy between genre and literary. In fact, speaking of not pulling any punches, was that a right hook or a left hook?

Though I haven't written specifically about genre vs. literary, I have written a lengthy blog post on genre (specifically science fiction) and mainstream with regards to the fiction of Judith Moffett.

I'm also quite please to say that an Ursula K. Le Guin story will be included in my forthcoming Alien Contact anthology, but I'm not in a position at this time to reveal any further details about the story. You'll need to return to this blog in seven weeks when I discuss that particular story (i.e. 26 stories over 26 weeks -- see this link).

No comments:

Post a Comment