Classics and the Western Canon discussion

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Tea room > Discomfort with reading from the perspective of gentry

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message 1: by Garth (new)

Garth Laidlaw (garthlaidlaw) | 14 comments Hello everyone,

I'm new to posting and discussing on here but have been reading everyone's discussions for a while and love the dialogue I often read.

I was just curious if anyone else feels a certain discomfort with reading many of the classics which prioritize or are entirely from the perspective of the gentry of the society? Even when the purpose is to criticize this group, for some reason the more that I read, the more difficult I find it to want to read more work told by this dominant group.

Now, obviously for a long time this was largely because they may have had the easiest path to publication, and this is understandable, but still as I read with my modern eyes, I find it trying.

Does anyone else find this? I would love to hear perspectives that agree and disagree. Thanks for the discussion.


message 2: by Aiden (new)

Aiden Hunt (paidenhunt) | 249 comments I guess it depends much on your point of view. Personally, I find it more jarring to find casual racism, sexism, pederasty, and the like in many great works than reading from the wealthy and powerful point of view.

In the last hundred and fifty years, you can find many stories of the poor and underclass. Prior to the Industrial Age, any more than basic literacy wasn’t as common for large parts of the population even in the richest countries. If it didn’t help you to farm/trade, it wasn’t putting food in your mouth, so you weren’t spending money on books.

All of which is to say that you have to consider the audience of the classics. Until recently (in historic terms), the audience of the writers who produced classics were the ones with enough money for luxuries like schooling, so the stories were naturally ones they could relate to. Plus, people love to read about the exploits of the rich and powerful. Always have.

I guess it doesn’t bother me because I counterbalance by enjoying great writers like Dostoevsky who wrote about and were familiar with the the lower classes due to being of them. Plus modern literary fiction has produced some incredible works spanning all walks of life.


message 3: by David (new)

David | 2489 comments Garth wrote: "for some reason the more that I read, the more difficult I find it to want to read more work told by this dominant group."

To find it more difficult to read works by people in an advantageous social position, for some reason could be read a couple of ways regarding the reason. Is some reason known but undeclared or is some reason not known? If the reason is known then it should be stated as clearly as possible for purposes of discussion and for the curious. If the reason cannot be stated then essentially the difficulties are without reason and are thus resolved.


message 4: by Sam (new)

Sam | 36 comments Garth wrote: "Hello everyone,

I'm new to posting and discussing on here but have been reading everyone's discussions for a while and love the dialogue I often read.

I was just curious if anyone else feels a c..."


Thanks for raising this issue. Taking you questions on a slight tangent: I've been reading and rereading alot of classics this year--Austen, Wilde, George Elliott, Forster, Wharton, Shelley, etc. I've also been reading at the same time a lot of Native American and African-American histories. I LOVE classic literature. But I'm taking a a bit of a break for a couple months--still reading some classics--but diving into some more modern literature just to spend more time in a modern frame. Just need to recenter from the anti-semitism, the misogyny, the gentry perspective.


message 5: by Antonomasia (last edited May 14, 2020 10:05PM) (new)

Antonomasia | 2 comments I think that (especially with books dating from before the 20th century, certainly before the 19th, and increasingly so, the further back one goes) this simply needs to be seen in the context that there are a smaller number of historical sources in general written by people from lower social classes.

Regardless of what one would love to know as a historian, or in online book discussion WRT current expectations about demographic composition of one's reading list (if trying to combine that with reading centuries-old books), a lot of material just isn't there. Some of it has been lost, but much of it was never written down in the first place: often the people whose first-hand experience we'd most like to know about were those who couldn't read and write, or not very much. And in history one has to piece it together from other material like court and parish records, and what those with more formal education wrote down.

Sometimes in fiction it can be more uncomfortable reading assumptions about what poorer people thought. Why should we really trust, for example, Tolstoy, to really be able to say what a peasant was thinking? Some of it will be idealised and/or a projection, or based on the sorts of things peasants were comfortable saying to him. I think such writers are more trustworthy about what people of their own class said and thought. (I am glad these characters and their lives are included, I like reading about the settings - it's specifically the assumptions about their inner thoughts, by writers who were in a position of authority over these poorer people, that I think need to be read in circumspect fashion.)


message 6: by Tamara (last edited May 15, 2020 08:16AM) (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 1404 comments Garth wrote: "Hello everyone,

I'm new to posting and discussing on here but have been reading everyone's discussions for a while and love the dialogue I often read.

I was just curious if anyone else feels a c..."


Garth, I sense your struggle with this and appreciate you bringing the topic up for discussion.

I’m wondering, though, does the classist, sexist, racist origins of the classics completely mar your ability to enjoy and appreciate them? I guess what I’m asking is do you see any benefits to reading the classics that go beyond the fact that, until fairly recent times, they were written from a position of privilege by people of privilege for people of privilege? Is it possible to acknowledge what a classic doesn’t do while simultaneously appreciating it for what it does?

I’m not trying to put you on the spot. I’m just trying to get a better understanding of your position.


message 7: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 559 comments Garth wrote: "Hello everyone,

I'm new to posting and discussing on here but have been reading everyone's discussions for a while and love the dialogue I often read.

I was just curious if anyone else feels a c..."


I see it as a perennial fact of social stratification, no matter the historical configuration of any given time. You will always have the dual configuration of an establishment, the movers and shakers, and the general populace. And at times you have a triangular configuration adding a trading or merchant class, which as a rule gets looked down upon by the establishment, until it becomes the establishment.

Here in the United States we don't like to talk about "establishment" or "the rich", they remind us too much of colonial times, so everyone is "middle class". ...which becomes rather silly when you stretch it too far in either direction.


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 304 comments Garth wrote: "I was just curious if anyone else feels a certain discomfort with reading many of the classics which prioritize or are entirely from the perspective of the gentry of the society?..."

No.

If the book were primarily about their material position in life, I think I would find it boring...Edith Wharton has that effect on me, and I've put off reading Trollope and Galsworthy because I think they may be similar, but I haven't read them, so I could be wrong about that.

Like David said above, I'm curious as to what you mean by discomfort. Do you feel as though you are quietly condoning a worldview you think of as oppressive or suppressive by reading these books?


message 9: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4404 comments I was once in a seminar about Pride and Prejudice where a student made the observation, "These people don't have to work, do they?" Our tutor (seminar leader) waited a moment and said, "It's true. These people don't have jobs." And the conversation went on in another direction.

That exchange still strikes me as funny, because the fact that they don't have jobs is just part of the background and context of the novel. That background is open to criticism from an historical and social point of view, but not a literary one. In a similar way, the Iliad is incredibly violent, disturbingly so, but the violence is a surface element. The beauty lies beneath the surface. I think to read classics from other times and cultures, we have no choice but to look beneath a foreign and often repellent surface for what speaks to us today.


message 10: by Garth (new)

Garth Laidlaw (garthlaidlaw) | 14 comments Aiden wrote: "I guess it depends much on your point of view. Personally, I find it more jarring to find casual racism, sexism, pederasty, and the like in many great works than reading from the wealthy and powerf..."

Thanks for this thought Aiden. I also found that refreshing about reading Dostoevsky. I found this especially to be the case after attempting to read War & Peace (unsuccessful in this attempt, and part of what prompted my desire to create this thread).


message 11: by Garth (new)

Garth Laidlaw (garthlaidlaw) | 14 comments Tamara wrote: "I’m wondering, though, does the classist, sexist, racist origins of the classics completely mar your ability to enjoy and appreciate them? I guess what I’m asking is do you see any benefits to reading the classics that go beyond the fact that, until fairly recent times, they were written from a position of privilege by people of privilege for people of privilege? Is it possible to acknowledge what a classic doesn’t do while simultaneously appreciating it for what it does? ..."

Thanks for this further question Tamara. In almost all cases, it doesn't, for many of the reasons others have provided here. I disagree with those whose position it is to utterly abandon the classics due to our contemporary socio-political lens perhaps too often and broadly applied.

Part of it is that many of the struggles of the characters depicted in higher positions in society, however beautifully written about, seem to pale in comparison to the majority of peoples struggles. As I mentioned in another comment above, War & Peace is primarily what prompted me to ask others how they felt about this, and perhaps this might be one of the prime examples of this high society on display. The heightened drama and tension often displayed from this class often feel so insignificant to me I guess.

I suppose if I'm to attempt to position my perspective in history somewhere it would be with those who began to abandon the ideals of a lot of the classical works in favour of those depicting "realism" as described by many 20th century writers and artists. Though this is odd to me as I also love a lot of the Greek classics, and even romanticism, however much they contradict the idea of attempting to depict "realism" as seen through the common person's eyes. Probably my desire to post about this is my inability to reconcile these inner contradictions.


message 12: by Garth (new)

Garth Laidlaw (garthlaidlaw) | 14 comments Kerstin wrote: "You will always have the dual configuration of an establishment, the movers and shakers, and the general populace. And at times you have a triangular configuration adding a trading or merchant class, which as a rule gets looked down upon by the establishment, until it becomes the establishment. ..."

Neat - thanks for your perspective. These are good points.


message 13: by Garth (new)

Garth Laidlaw (garthlaidlaw) | 14 comments Bryan "Like David said above, I'm curious as to what you mean by discomfort. Do you feel as though you are quietly condoning a worldview you think of as oppressive or suppressive by reading these books?..."
..."


I guess I should have mentioned I feel an aversion to reading them because the difficulties they experience, for lack of a more intelligible way of explaining it, feel often like "first world problems", or could be rephrased as "the 1% problems".

I don't necessarily feel as though I'm condoning it, it's just that with only so many possible books to be read in a lifetime, I suppose it sometimes feels like I'm reading the "wrong" books. However, there are also cases when reading is difficult, but worth it in the end. Often the difficulty is present to make you able to empathize or at least go through some of the experience with the characters. In fact, this is case with many of the so-called classics, but sometimes reading stories of the gentry in particular feels slightly like I've been brainwashed by the Western canon proselytizers to continue on a particular worldview / ideology by reading such works, versus perhaps reading from a canon provided by those in the post-colonial camp.

I'm not sure I've necessarily clarified my position for your question as much as just elaborated further. Curious to hear your thoughts.


message 14: by Garth (new)

Garth Laidlaw (garthlaidlaw) | 14 comments Thomas wrote: "I was once in a seminar about Pride and Prejudice where a student made the observation, "These people don't have to work, do they?" Our tutor (seminar leader) waited a moment and said, "It's true. These people don't have jobs." And the conversation went on in another direction...."

Wow, I love this thoughtful response Thomas - really appreciate this.

I guess the extension of that question that the student tried to ask is: "If they didn't have to work, is reading about their lives and struggles really going to capture some of the magic of that particular time in history and give us a lens into that different world, or will it consequently skim on the surface of what it was really like then?"

Obviously this is too broad a brush stroke to paint, and there is nuance in every writer's perspective, but the question still remains in my mind.

Thomas wrote: "That exchange still strikes me as funny, because the fact that they don't have jobs is just part of the background and context of the novel..."

However, I suppose while one can imagine beyond their own life experience, and depict the lives of others that occupy different positions than themselves, the further they attempt to illustrate, you would think the depictions would get increasingly distanced from reality. I guess I'm seeing it as that the context is critical to us modern humans in our attempts to see whose perspectives captured the real essence of the time.

That background is open to criticism from an historical and social point of view, but not a literary one. ..."

This point slightly confused me, could you clarify?

" In a similar way, the Iliad is incredibly violent, disturbingly so, but the violence is a surface element. The beauty lies beneath the surface. I think to read classics from other times and cultures, we have no choice but to look beneath a foreign and often repellent surface for what speaks to us today."

This is a great point. In some cases it is much easier (like with many of the Greek classics I've found) and harder for me with something like War & Peace.


message 15: by Aiden (new)

Aiden Hunt (paidenhunt) | 249 comments Garth wrote: "I also found that refreshing about reading Dostoevsky. I found this especially to be the case after attempting to read War & Peace (unsuccessful in this attempt, and part of what prompted my desire to create this thread)..."

I definitely feel your frustration regarding War and Peace. In my early 20s, I read all of Dostoevsky’s fiction (The Brothers Karamzov rivals W&P in length), but never got more than halfway through Tolstoy’s master work. I’d like to eventually read it again, but it is quite tedious for dozens of pages at a time.

Glad you decided to lend your voice to the discussion, Garth.


message 16: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2 comments Though one of the lenses they give is about how much more these gentry perspectives mattered at that time.

I think it is *more* frustrating to see such a high proportion of literary novels now still being about middle class characters and especially about characters in the arts who don't work standard full time jobs. It is understandable this was the case 100+ years ago given values, more rigid social structures and levels of education, but now there is a lot of lip-service and talk about working class access whilst in practice publishing a greatly disproportionate number of writers who e.g. went to Oxford and/or have already worked in publishing themselves.

Have you tried consuming some non-fiction history around the same time as reading these books? (even documentaries or radio programmes like BBC In Our Time, not necessarily whole history books if you don't have time) The sense of wider context may help. Since I started reading 'grown ups' classics towards the end of primary school, I have always read the introductions and notes in Penguin & Oxford editions (which often contain historical context) and sometimes I forget that isn't integral to everyone else's experience of reading classics.

Part of the importance of the classics is how they have been read by, and influenced, others. More recent novels, yes. But also these books have been valued by many readers who were not as well off as the author or their main characters, and in different places around the world. (e.g. how much Tolstoy seems to be considered an essential read for autodidacts in India) It's interesting to think about other readers through history and books as a way of understanding them.

Looking back at the classics I've read over the last year, very few of them were only about the gentry and their "first-world problems". The only one that was, The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford, indeed bored me. Some others may have been from the perspective of gentry, e.g. Dead Souls but were certainly not just about them and you see a lot else through the narrative. (Albeit by writers who hadn't lived those lives personally.) I would say War & Peace is so panoramic you see a great deal else in it - whereas Anna Karenina I often found a slog and annoying, and my favourite bits in it were the agricultural scenes and the political debates which seem to be many other readers' least-favourites. There are plenty of classics out there which aren't just about the gentry and their love-lives. Bryan mentioned Edith Wharton - I've never been very keen on the idea of most of her books for that reason, so when I did finally read her (last year) I went for Ethan Frome instead.

Do you know what it is about the Greeks that you find different?

I have read shockingly little in the way of Greco-Roman classics - I always used to rely on a couple of friends who did Classics degrees for info about this bit of history, which interested me less. (And as I studied Renaissance humanism a fair bit at undergraduate, this was a *bad* oversight on my part, not to learn more about what those guys read and valued.) This year I read 2 translations of the Odyssey and it is really striking compared with 18th-19th century European classics how little anyone even pretends to care about the welfare of most slaves. One knows this in a general sense about Classical civs, but the contrast is really noticeable on the page after mostly reading more recent classics.


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 304 comments Garth wrote: "I guess I should have mentioned I feel an aversion to reading them because the difficulties they experience, for lack of a more intelligible way of explaining it, feel often like "first world problems", or could be rephrased as "the 1% problems". ..."

I suspect that this view tallies pretty closely with what I was saying about narratives that focus on the material aspect of the characters. I wouldn't say I feel discomforted by them, but I'm often not very interested in them.

If you take something like Pride and Prejudice, which was mentioned above, a reader could point out that the material aspects are completely different from today--I remember reading someone mentioning once that Austen referred to the servants in the same tone as she referred to the silverware--but readers continue to find themes that resonate. Those characters did have first world problems, in a sense, but that's not the theme that strikes most readers. Rather, it's how Austen handles the universal problems that people still run into today, told with wit and charm.

I think it's the same with War and Peace, though on this matter we may differ. I completely understand the tedious aspects, but there are a lot of themes contained in W&P--some will resonate and some won't. To my mind, Tolstoy gives us a picture of a structure, and then a character like Pierre is forced to navigate through that structure to discover his own identity, his own self-worth. That journey is made whether you are a 19th Century aristocrat or living along the banks of the Yangtze River. Granted one is likely to be much more physically demanding, but these kind of journeys are universal.

To me, the point changes when the narrative is rooted to the setting--that's where I tend to get bored. That's what keeps me from trying something like John Galsworthy, and why I've found the Edith Wharton I've read to be tedious. Wharton's an excellent writer, but I just don't care about the New York upper crust of the turn of the century. To me, Wharton was concerned with the particularity of her times, which makes it harder to draw universal themes from it. I'm not saying they aren't there, just that the reader has to dig a little harder for them.


message 18: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4404 comments Garth wrote: "

"That background is open to criticism from an historical and social point of view, but not a literary one. ..."

This point slightly confused me, could you clarify?
"


Sure. I think the literary and aesthetic quality of a book is separable from its social or historical, or even moral context. Take Lolita, as an extreme example. I don't know if Lolita is a "classic" exactly, but it's a masterpiece of prose style and one of the finer novels of the 20th century, at least in terms of its literary merits. But at the same time it is inarguably immoral...

But is literature the right place to turn for moral instruction? Or social justice? In my opinion, no. If we place that kind of restriction on art our imaginative horizons shrink according to non-literary criteria, and expanding those horizons is the function of art. This doesn't mean we can't be morally critical at the same time, but we have to let art do what it does to us, even if it makes us uncomfortable sometimes. Unless it's bad art... but that's a whole different discussion.

Maybe Oscar Wilde said it best: 'There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all."


message 19: by Ignacio (last edited May 17, 2020 12:27PM) (new)

Ignacio | 139 comments Thomas wrote: "Maybe Oscar Wilde said it best: 'There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all."

Yes! And Oscar Wilde also said: "All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling."

I would agree that on a practical level, we have to separate the moral from the aesthetic, so as not to let "our imaginative horizons shrink" as you put it.

But maybe, on a deeper moral level, literature and art, including all their violence and indecency, do illuminate the moral. I feel like one cannot read the great masters like Nabokov, Baudelaire, Joyce, without having one's moral, as well as aesthetic, horizons pushed as well. We perhaps learn about our limits, about our imperfections, about the human condition.

I think this is especially true of authors that challenge conventional moral understandings, like Nietzsche, Ezra Pound, or Genet. Even of those who embrace the monstrous, like De Sade.


message 20: by Sam (new)

Sam | 36 comments Enjoying this thread. I am currently reading War and Peace--only about 150 pages in and enjoying it. Brothers K is next. Somehow I missed reading the Russian classics earlier in life and am making up for some lost time.

I love Edith Wharton's books for the excellent writing and the critical eye she casts on the upper crust society, the hypocrisy, vanity, shallowness. And as a side note, she was trained in interior design, and her eye for detail in setting the room, the stage, is wonderful.


message 21: by Garth (new)

Garth Laidlaw (garthlaidlaw) | 14 comments Thomas wrote: "But is literature the right place to turn for moral instruction? Or social justice? In my opinion, no. If we place that kind of restriction on art our imaginative horizons shrink according to non-literary criteria, and expanding those horizons is the function of art. This doesn't mean we can't be morally critical at the same time, but we have to let art do what it does to us, even if it makes us uncomfortable sometimes. Unless it's bad art... but that's a whole different discussion."

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I guess I presented my view as seeing works that highlight the life of the upper crust as morally shady, but I definitely wouldn't paint this broad of a brush stroke. I also agree that art shouldn't be limited to presenting any one particular worldview either, which is actually part of my issue here. Isn't the "life of the gentry" such a saturated worldview to write about already? And doesn't it also potentially feed into our psychological desire for gossip of the high and mighty as someone mentioned above in this thread. I guess I just tire of this over time, and increasingly prefer work that depicts the life shared by at least more than the 1% minority of the era as a picture into that time of history.

Even if the work is well written, there is still the issue that all readers must face: Reading has great power to alter our perspective of the world, and especially our ability to have empathy. So, when choosing which books to read, should I read something that represents a very small minority, or should I read something that will represent the lives lived by many?

It must appear that I am reading "with a purpose" and I don't necessarily feel that I do. I'll often flip between contemporary and classical works specifically to get a sense of the broad human / historical experience (if I'm to really attempt to describe why I read).

Sorry, wanted to write more but I'm off! Thanks for engaging with me on this topic.


message 22: by DaytimeRiot (last edited May 17, 2020 04:09PM) (new)

DaytimeRiot | 2 comments Garth wrote: "Now, obviously for a long time this was largely because they may have had the easiest path to publication, and this is understandable, but still as I read with my modern eyes, I find it trying."

I think this is a gross mischaracterization. It's not that the "gentry" had the easiest path to publication, or if they did, it was because those were the people who could actually read and write.

The reason we have folklore and oral stories and histories is because reading and writing were useless to the poor and the peasant classes, who have made up about 98.5% of humanity since we stopped swinging from trees. Their lives were spent growing food to survive winter. Rinse, repeat. It was brutal, it was violent, it was short. But all humans, no matter their station in life, live by stories. That's why all cultures, without exception, have their own system of mythological tradition and folklore.

It was the wealthy, the landowners, the emerging mercantile class that needed to know how to read and write. That is why the history of Western Literature (arguably the greatest contribution to human civilization ever invented) is written "from their point-of-view". And that assumes a very narrow humanity of the great writers. Anybody who's read the Essays of Michel de Montaigne, could dare deny that this was a man who could imagine and empathize with people totally unlike himself. His essay, "Of Cannibals", written in the 15th century, compared the cannibalism of the Tupinambá people of Brazil to the religious barbarism then destroying France and how their ceremonial rituals for the dead resembled those practiced by Europeans at that time.

Montaigne was the epitome of an elite European of his time. He was so well respected that both the Catholics and the Protestants trusted him as their intermediary. And yet he still possessed the ability to see the humanity of a culture so foreign to him that it would have been unrecognizable. To judge him simply because of the class he was born into is the epitome of the oikophobia, the intellectual scourge of our time. The vast majority of Europeans, the elite, the peasantry, or the destitute, whether or not they could read or write, wouldn't even have comprehended such a different culture as human. And the same would have been true of the Tupinambá people when they encountered Europeans for the first time. That was not the fault of either culture. They lived during a time when life experience was so limited, and so dangerous, that different cultures, different ways of living were very likely a threat to their existence.

What you take for granted is just how different and luxurious (yes, even if you are considered poor) it is now than how it used to be. This is a post-Victorian evolution. It's lasted for no longer than 200-250 years. If anything, the vast majority of readers sin against the past because they do not have the capacity to empathize or understand lives that were so different from the privileged existence they take for granted and assume everybody experienced, when it is exactly the inverse that is true.

That's a reflection of the limitations, mediocrity, and narrowness of the readers of today. It is in no way a reflection of the writers of the past.


message 23: by Thomas (last edited May 18, 2020 09:46AM) (new)

Thomas | 4404 comments Garth wrote: "So, when choosing which books to read, should I read something that represents a very small minority, or should I read something that will represent the lives lived by many? "

My advice is to read as deeply and broadly as you can. Even books that represent the "common man" are written by one person, the smallest minority possible. There is no escaping the singular point of view, and even though it's uncomfortable, I think you should read things you disagree with, particularly works that have stood the test of time. Read Eastern classics. Read classics of the counterculture. Read the classics of the Western Canon, patriarchical and aristocratic as they can sometimes be (but aren't always!). And don't forget to read things you like for no reason at all. You don't need justification for that.


message 24: by Donnally (new)

Donnally Miller | 64 comments "The ancients have transmitted to us examples of epic poems in which the whole interest of history is concentrated in a few heroic figures; and under their influence we are still unable to accustom our minds to the idea that history of that kind is meaningless at our stage in the development of humanity."
-- Count Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace


message 25: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 204 comments Garth wrote: "I was just curious if anyone else feels a certain discomfort with reading many of the classics which prioritize or are entirely from the perspective of the gentry of the society?"

I understand perfectly what you mean, I had been looking forward to reading 'A Dance to the Music of Time', but I failed to engage with any of the characters. I think art in all it's forms is based on experiencing lives far beyond our own, but sometimes the concerns of the author/protagonists in a novel are just frustrating rather than sympathetic.


message 26: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 4981 comments Clari wrote: "I think art in all it's forms is based on experiencing lives far beyond our own..."

Keep reading, Clari, Garth, .... And consider what Thomas expresses so cogently @23. Time and institutions can be useful filters -- and unfortunate ones, too.

We do live in an age when increased literacy has given voice to experiences previously available more through non-verbal artifacts: graves, city walls, ... and through folklore and stories and "sacred" works. And broad institutions of publication, with all their strengths and flaws. Make use of them all -- at least as many as "make sense" for you. My wish is that you challenge yourself as deeply as your time and resources allow. (My own experience is that making the journey with others can deepen, speed, slow, confuse, enlighten the process.)


message 27: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 204 comments Lily wrote: "Clari wrote: "I think art in all it's forms is based on experiencing lives far beyond our own..."

Keep reading, Clari, Garth, .... And consider what Thomas expresses so cogently @23. Time and inst..."


I think the rich white male perspective is quite omnipresent in consuming media and art, as mentioned earlier they've historically (and probably still currently) had the easiest access and ability to express themselves and get their voice heard. And over time that has made it more boring for me, and stories from new perspectives (to me at least) have more spark.
Though if the writer is skilled I think the humanity of all of us from our infinite variety of experiences can be captured whatever the outward situation of the characters.


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