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I take issue with this, because for some reason, only in literature can a neophyte be expected to enjoy something at face value.

I don't understand cricket, but I don't blast it because I'm a neophyte who can't enjoy it. Similarly, it does take a long time to enjoy certain more difficult works of literature. We improve as readers over our lives. Edgar Allen Poe, I remember his writing as being utterly fantastic to me when I first read it, not so much upon my return to it. I had changed. In any other human endeavor,  except literature it seems, we allow for higher levels of skill to be appreciated.

And some great works of literature are practically beyond anyone's solitary comprehension, and they can only be enjoyed communally. Take Finnegans Wake, for instance. Read in a classroom, the book opened up to me. in fact, it opened up not even because of someone's erudition. It opened up because as we read it allowed in class, one student's mildly inebriated brogue enlivened all the puns.

by Upstate NY on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 01:45:41 PM EST
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