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Is It Serious?

muck monsterAlthough BoingBoing has already copied the entire article (under the heading “Ursula LeGuin rips into Slate Magazine”), this post “on serious literature,” which appears on the Ansible website, is marked “copyright Ursula K. Le Guin, 2007.” So I will quote just an excerpt. It pertains to the issue of whether genre fiction is serious writing, which is not merely an abstract concern. My friend Rod Clark, editor of Rosebud magazine, has lost some sources of funding because of his refusal to exclude genre fiction from his journal.

Something woke her in the night. Was it steps she heard, coming up the stairs? … As she heard the click of heel bones that had broken through rotting flesh, she knew what it was. But it was dead, dead! God damn that Chabon, dragging it out of the grave where she and the other serious writers had buried it to save serious literature from its polluting touch, the horror of its blank, pustular face, the lifeless, meaningless glare of its decaying eyes! What did the fool think he was doing? Had he paid no attention at all to the endless rituals of the serious writers and their serious critics — the formal expulsion ceremonies, the repeated anathemata, the stakes driven over and over through the heart, the vitriolic sneers, the endless, solemn dances on the grave? … Could it be that that Chabon, just because some mad fools gave him a Pulitzer, had forgotten the sacred value of the word mainstream? …

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1 Comment

  1. I believe that genre writing is indeed “serious literature”, if that was the intent of the author when it was written. Kudos to Mr. Clark for not excluding it from Rosebud.

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