« Aging, Gracefully and Otherwise | Main | Revenge of the Sloth »

June 26, 2004

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

egret

Respect from whom? From the public at large? From the New York Times? Aren't sales figures the sign of a book's respectability?

Lee

No, they're indicators of its popularity and the success of its marketing campaign. I was thinking of critical respect from the academy, rather than popular acclaim.

Egret

What difference does academic respect make? Except to academics? Does academic respect mean a book is "good"?

In that vein, though, you're a little out of date in your description of academe. Science fiction has had its own journals, conferences and courses for at least twenty years now. Academic feminism has promoted women's writing since the 1970s, at least. And critical attention to fantasy and folklore (e.g. King Arthur stuff) goes back a hundred years. Maus was recognized upon publication as a major work, and opened the door for other graphic novels in the academy. It's true that much genre fiction goes unmentioned in academe, but because it's second-rate genre fiction, not because of its genre. Likewise ignored are most westerns, war stories, spy thrillers, and true-crime stuff.

What you have to say about these texts is interesting. But they're not "underdog" texts neglected by scholars. Scholars are generally more aligned with geek taste than not. After all, they live in that cozy "ivory tower" instead of in "the real world" of things that really matter.

Egret

Lee

Yeah, I think you're probably right that my view of the academy is dated. I've been out of it for ten years now, and I'm more or less harkening back to my undergrad days in the early 80's when it was a far less respectable area of study. The closest we got then was a class in "experimental" lit: Pynchon, Robbe Grillet, Borges, Fuentes, Vonnegut, etc.Even as a grad student at NYU there was an air of someone less serious about the people who taught SF. Unfortunately, I think academic respect does matter, if not here and now, then in what continues to be read in the future. For a lot of people, what they read in college is the last real exposure to books they get.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

My Artist's Books

  • Border and Frontier

    Add to Your Collection

  • Stories From the Ruins

    Add to Your Collection

  • Highfield's Recipes From a Good Life

    Not For Sale

Poets, Poetry, Poetry Orgs

  • A Gathering of the Tribes
    Since 1991, A Gathering of the Tribes has been run as an alternative arts and literary scene at the home of its executive director, Steve Cannon.
  • Academy of American Poets
    Sponsors National Poetry Month in April and has a huge audio archive of readings, much of it available online. They even have an iPhone app!
  • Cave Canem
    Founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady in 1996 to remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape, Cave Canem Foundation is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.
  • City Lore
    City Lore is the co-sponsor (with Poets House) of the biennial poetry festival in downtown Manhattan showcasing the nation’s – and the world’s – literary and folk poetry traditions with special attention to poetry’s oral roots.
  • EMOTIVE FRUITION – Where poetry comes to life.
    An interesting group that matches poets with actors for performances of their work.
  • Howl Festival
    The annual Poetry, Theater, Performance Art, Film Comedy and Dance festival in the East Village, usually in September. Named after Allen Ginsberg’s poem.
  • Nuyorican Poets Cafe
    Slams, literary events, readings, music, theater. Founded ca. 1973, originally as a home salon by lit professor Miguel Algarin. Old School slammin'. Don't miss it.
  • Poets House: A Place for Poetry
    Newly renovated and fantastically beautiful: a vast library of poetry books; literary center for readings and performances.
  • St. Mark's Poetry Project
    Started in 1966, the Poetry Project was one of the inspirations for the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. In addition to weekly readings and workshops, they hold a 24-hour poetry reading on New Year’s Day each year.
  • Taiku Poetry
    Tanoa's Haiku an American original
  • The Inspired Word
    Mike Geffner's biweekly showcase of fantastic poets and open mics.
  • The Urban Juke Joint on FaceBook
  • Theodora Goss: Poems
  • WandaLeaBrayton - poet at allpoetry
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Crosstown Traffic

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 10/2003

Fellow Travelers

Web Comics