Sunday, December 13, 2009

Literary Ghettos

Just read a great blog post via one of Neil Gaiman's tweets. Julian Gough is reflecting on a review for The Opposite House, noting of the reviewer, herself an author of literary fiction:

"She really thought that her stablemate at Bloomsbury was probably "the first to contend" that migration "afflicts no one so profoundly as the gods". And editors and sub-editors had let this stand. Which means that nobody involved in the whole process was aware that Neil Gaiman had spent nearly six hundred pages, in his novel American Gods (which is not "literary", nor published by Bloomsbury), writing about nothing but how migration profoundly afflicts the gods."

Gough's point is that literary fiction exists in a ghetto, but there is little recognition of this. Writes Gough: "most SF reviewers are also stuck in their ghetto: and most crime reviewers: but they at least know they live in a ghetto, and that what they read is a genre. The problem with the literary novel is that it is becoming a genre again, and doesn't know it."

Just something to muse upon when considering the study of literature.

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