Prufrock's Page

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

To Be Popular Or Not To Be?

"...given the inertia that characterizes nearly everyone’s aesthetic preferences, those writers who seek to provoke their readers often have to be on the defensive end in the debate. The most brilliant, ornate, and convoluted book might stretch its readers’ minds, but it’s probably not going to sell many copies...Keeping things comprehensible might be better for sales, but there’s often a more profound pleasure in unlocking a difficult novel—if you can find a way to approach its difficulties."

That's Gautam Hans, a Columbia College senior, asking questions about the worth of novels, using Ben Marcus and Jonathan Franzen as examples.

On a related note, lecturer, bookstore owner and actor Thor Ka Hoong says in The Malaysia Star: "Writing is knowing. I think this thought, the knowledge/wisdom that is derived from the process of creation, applies to all creative arts. I’m reminded of the artist Franc Kline who noted: 'Well, look, if I paint what you know, then that will simply bore you, the repetition from me to you. If I paint what I know, it will be boring to myself. Therefore, I paint what I don’t know.' "


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