View Poll Results: Stephen King:

Voters
51. You may not vote on this poll
  • Trash

    14 27.45%
  • Literature

    24 47.06%
  • Who cares?

    13 25.49%
Page 27 of 34 FirstFirst ... 172223242526272829303132 ... LastLast
Results 391 to 405 of 498

Thread: Stephen King: Trash, or Literature?

  1. #391
    Account closed.
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    228
    Many interesting points there, Mal, and I agree, to an extent, with some of it.

    However, please understand, I am not a literary critic. I am trying to get into some of the more meaningful and classic texts, but equally, I enjoy a good story. And is the enjoyment factor not as important as the response of 'literary academics'?

    I am open to suggestions of books to read that have a higher academic standing, indeed there are a few on my 'list'!

    And I'll avoid the King fanboy forums for now!

    Scheherazade - let me know when you have it!

    (And for reference, I'm a 30 something guy, who is quite proud of his immaturity!)
    Last edited by Abookinthebath; 10-11-2011 at 08:15 AM.

  2. #392
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3,093
    Of course anyone has the right to read any book of their choice. But I also have the right to question whether a Stephen King book should be discussed in a forum that tags itself as a 'literature forum'.

    Using 'define: in Google', we get the reasonable definition 'Literature - Written works, esp. those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit: "a great work of literature".'

    I'm surprised to see you taking this forum to be about "the looser" definition - "Written works" - when most postings here seems to take the broader definition on board - "...those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit".

    "The Big Read" is evidence for the dumbing-down of the BBC, not evidence for "literature of superior or lasting artistic merit". Looking at the list, I'd guess it was voted for mostly by Tolkeinists and seven year olds - two factions famous for spending too much time on the internet.

    The BBC does still do some things well, of course. The Christopher Hitchens essay series on BBC Radio 4 at the moment is superb... and "Start the Week" has started well this season...

  3. #393
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Tweet @ScherLitNet
    Posts
    23,903
    Mal, as always, one has the option of not taking part in any discussion that does not appeal to their tastes... And that starts by not posting in those threads.
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  4. #394
    Account closed.
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    228
    Um, Mal, if you care to have a look at the bottom of this page, you will find the 'Stephen King Trash or Literature' thread. Many opposing views there.

    This discussion isn't why I started this thread.

  5. #395
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3,093
    Quote Originally Posted by Abookinthebath View Post
    I am trying to get into some of the more meaningful and classic texts, but equally, I enjoy a good story. And is the enjoyment factor not as important as the response of 'literary academics'?

    I am open to suggestions of books to read that have a higher academic standing, indeed there are a few on my 'list'!
    What's enjoyable about bad writing? There are many literary novels that are easily enjoyed, that have King's "Everyman appeal" - anything by Dickens. Tolstoy's shorter novels. R.L. Stevenson's adventures. H.G. Wells' science fiction, Philip Roth, ...

  6. #396
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    3,890
    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    Is Stephen King an appropriate author to discuss on a literature forum?

    The Wikipedia page on King, in the 'critical response' section, has no positive responses from any literary academic or acknowledged 'gatekeeper of literature'.

    But it has several negative responses.

    Richard Snyder, the former CEO of Simon & Schuster, described King's work as "non-literature", Harold Bloom really disliked him: 'The decision to give the National Book Foundation's annual award for "distinguished contribution" to Stephen King is extraordinary, another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life. I've described King in the past as a writer of penny dreadfuls, but perhaps even that is too kind. He shares nothing with Edgar Allan Poe. What he is is an immensely inadequate writer on a sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, book-by-book basis.'

    Even genre critics are harsh about him - Joshi argues that King's supernatural novels are mostly bloated, illogical, maudlin and prone to deus ex machina endings.

    Joshi suggests that King's strengths are the accessible "everyman" quality of his prose, and insightful observations about the pains and joys of adolescence. That seems about right, and perhaps explains his popularity amongst a young audience who "know no better".

    I did read a few King novels as an adolescent but gave up on him - for reasons that Joshi and Bloom explicate quite well - Tommyknockers was the final straw - what an awful book on every level!

    Discussing King here would be like discussing cold fusion in a physics forum - maybe it would be safer to seek out a Stephen King fan forum?!

    But I am now quite tempted to read "The Modern Weird Tale" by S. T. Joshi.
    It seems that King is of little interest, which makes it very amazing the length to which you go about.

  7. #397
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    95
    How would you guys compare this to King's other books? I like him a lot. My favorites are The Shining and It. I've attempted The Stand several times, but have yet to complete it.

    Not sure why people aren't supposed to talk about Stephen King on a literary forum. How is he not literature again? Just because he isn't high art doesn't mean that he isn't an author of literature. I find the elitism on this board sometimes frankly quite ridiculous. If you guys like this a lot, I might add it to my list of books to read. I liked the movie.

    I'm currently reading the King James Bible, so it might be a while before I have time to read something else.

  8. #398
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5,046
    Blog Entries
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    Is Stephen King an appropriate author to discuss on a literature forum?

    The Wikipedia page on King, in the 'critical response' section, has no positive responses from any literary academic or acknowledged 'gatekeeper of literature'.

    But it has several negative responses.

    Richard Snyder, the former CEO of Simon & Schuster, described King's work as "non-literature", Harold Bloom really disliked him: 'The decision to give the National Book Foundation's annual award for "distinguished contribution" to Stephen King is extraordinary, another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life. I've described King in the past as a writer of penny dreadfuls, but perhaps even that is too kind. He shares nothing with Edgar Allan Poe. What he is is an immensely inadequate writer on a sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, book-by-book basis.'

    Even genre critics are harsh about him - Joshi argues that King's supernatural novels are mostly bloated, illogical, maudlin and prone to deus ex machina endings.

    Joshi suggests that King's strengths are the accessible "everyman" quality of his prose, and insightful observations about the pains and joys of adolescence. That seems about right, and perhaps explains his popularity amongst a young audience who "know no better".

    I did read a few King novels as an adolescent but gave up on him - for reasons that Joshi and Bloom explicate quite well - Tommyknockers was the final straw - what an awful book on every level!

    Discussing King here would be like discussing cold fusion in a physics forum - maybe it would be safer to seek out a Stephen King fan forum?!

    But I am now quite tempted to read "The Modern Weird Tale" by S. T. Joshi.
    We should determine discussion criteria based on the commentary of a whopping three critics? Why should critical acclaim even be a factor? It seems quite shortsighted to leave out any book not endorsed by a certain group of people. Not to mention incredibly close-minded, shortsighted, and pompous.

    Oh, and that you based your argument there solely on what Wikipedia provided is quite humorous.

  9. #399
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3,093
    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir777 View Post
    Not sure why people aren't supposed to talk about Stephen King on a literary forum. How is he not literature again? Just because he isn't high art doesn't mean that he isn't an author of literature. I find the elitism on this board sometimes frankly quite ridiculous. If you guys like this a lot, I might add it to my list of books to read. I liked the movie.

    I'm currently reading the King James Bible, so it might be a while before I have time to read something else.
    According to the loose definition, any "written work", is literature, so the phone book and Stephen King's novels are indeed literature, by this loose definition.

    If by "high art" you mean "written works considered of superior or lasting artistic merit" then that is, indeed, the tighter definition of "literature". Why is it elitist to want to discuss superior and lasting works of artistic merit? Why would you want to read works that are inferior and ephemeral?

    I might not want to read certain superior and lasting works because they are "difficult", but I can admit they are superior and lasting and bow to those who make the effort to overcome the difficulties. So good luck with the King James Bible.

    I've read some works of Stephen King and don't find his works to be superior, and think they have little chance of lasting. This feeling is backed up by several serious critics, and the opposite position is not backed up by any critic I respect.

    His success is based, I feel, on being an "easy read", having some facility in story telling, and being at joining point of several trends in popular culture - teenage angst, horror... - but this is no reason to call his work literature in the stronger sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutatis-Mutandi View Post
    We should determine discussion criteria based on the commentary of a whopping three critics? Why should critical acclaim even be a factor? It seems quite shortsighted to leave out any book not endorsed by a certain group of people. Not to mention incredibly close-minded, shortsighted, and pompous.
    So are you looking forward to threads for "The Trainspotters Manual" and "Phone Book Appreciation Society"?

    There has to be some criteria for distinguishing great literature from trash, and from any old writing. It has been my experience that great critics are good pointers to great literature, to books that *I* want to read and that are of lasting value.

  10. #400
    Account closed.
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    228
    Quote Originally Posted by Mutatis-Mutandi View Post
    Oh, and that you based your argument there solely on what Wikipedia provided is quite humorous.
    LOL! I remember when someone asked me to describe a critical part of my job, and told me I was wrong because of a Wiki entry!!

  11. #401
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Belo Horizonte- Brasil
    Posts
    3,279
    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    According to the loose definition, any "written work", is literature, so the phone book and Stephen King's novels are indeed literature, by this loose definition.
    Yes, the phone book is literature. You know, because listing as boring it may be, is textual form present in several works such as biblie - where they list laws or genealogies to Homer, that lists the greek fleet.

    I find funny that you do not notice that 'Literature - Written works, esp. those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit: "a great work of literature".' are bad definitions, because to consider Stephen King a work of literature of inferior or ephemeral artistic merit, or a small work of literature, I have to first consider it literature. It is only dismissed as literature after we demand it to have qualities of literary work. It is like me dissmissing Pele as football player because he was a bad basketball player. IOW: You are commiting the mistake of demanding from Stephen King literary vallue, so you must expect to find literary traits to show or in this case, fail to show, those traits. Thus, a work of literary traits is literature.



    If by "high art" you mean "written works considered of superior or lasting artistic merit" then that is, indeed, the tighter definition of "literature". Why is it elitist to want to discuss superior and lasting works of artistic merit? Why would you want to read works that are inferior and ephemeral?
    Well, It is elistist. Sorry, but it is true. Snobbery is a fine art, mastered by those who ellect and demmand the finest qualities.

    There is someting completely different from discussing X, Y, Z works and denying the definition as literature. I for example, do not go to discuss all classics in the world. Not all of them appeal to me. Something Stephen King appeals to me, specially considering he was part of my teen years, so I can feel like talking about it. This does not imply I consider Stephen King superior or a work of lasting merit. This imply those are my personal choices, as much as talking about classical authors that many wont talk about.

    And really, a definition is something universal, not based on opinions. Moby Dick didnt became literature after the critics discovered the qualities of the work, it was already literature. Critics are not owners of vocabulary, so really, their opinion means square rat *** about the definition.


    I've read some works of Stephen King and don't find his works to be superior, and think they have little chance of lasting. This feeling is backed up by several serious critics, and the opposite position is not backed up by any critic I respect.

    l, on being an "easy read", having some facility in story telling, and being at joining point of several trends in popular culture - teenage angst, horror... - but this is no reason to call his work literature in the stronger sense.
    Virginia Woolf said about the same about Robert Louis Stevenson. Thank god we had Henry James to allow us to call him in the stronger sense. Yet, in a more snobeberry level, as much Stevenson is a perfect story teller, we can be even more snob and rule him out. He didnt got on Cervantes level, so we call him what, Literature with a * ?



    So are you looking forward to threads for "The Trainspotters Manual" and "Phone Book Appreciation Society"?
    As if the Encyclopedia is not as ridiculous right?

    There has to be some criteria for distinguishing great literature from trash, and from any old writing. It has been my experience that great critics are good pointers to great literature, to books that *I* want to read and that are of lasting value.
    Here, again: there has to be some criteria for distinguishing great literature from trash literature.

    Indeed. And the first step on a critery, that can be fairly applied to both, is to accept both are literature. Otherwise, you would be avoiding the very critery.

  12. #402
    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    5,071
    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir777 View Post
    How would you guys compare this to King's other books? I like him a lot. My favorites are The Shining and It. I've attempted The Stand several times, but have yet to complete it.
    The Shining and The Stand are my favorites, but I liked pretty much everything until The Tommyknockers, except It (actually well-written, but once the nature of the antagonist was revealed, that was it) and Cujo. Tommyknockers was another decent story with a bad ending (also Needful Things which reused the ending of another novel), but then the bad novels started flying thick--Dark Half , Gerald's Game, Insomnia (neat idea here, but early on the old people started shooting energy beams from their hands like Ultraman, and that was it for me). He did recover a bit with Rose Madder and the Desperation/Regulators twofer, but I think at this point the heavy alcohol and drug abuse had taken enough of a toll on his brain that he was no longer capable of the depth he used to have. I haven't read anything from Bag of Bones on, so I'd be curious if he's recovered any of his plotting skill since going on the wagon and recovering from that horrific roadside accident.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir777 View Post
    I'm currently reading the King James Bible, so it might be a while before I have time to read something else.
    I would be interested in reading the Stephen King James Bible. He could at least make the boring bits less boring.
    You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Mahatma Gandhi

  13. #403
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    3,890
    Anything is literature. Literature is an interpretation, not a particular form or meaning. A phone book could be literature depending on how it is interpreted.

  14. #404
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5,046
    Blog Entries
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    His success is based, I feel, on being an "easy read", having some facility in story telling, and being at joining point of several trends in popular culture - teenage angst, horror... - but this is no reason to call his work literature in the stronger sense.
    Yes, it is.

    So are you looking forward to threads for "The Trainspotters Manual" and "Phone Book Appreciation Society"?

    There has to be some criteria for distinguishing great literature from trash, and from any old writing. It has been my experience that great critics are good pointers to great literature, to books that *I* want to read and that are of lasting value.
    Whether or not I'm looking forward to such threads is irrelevant (despite your straw-man argument).

    There "has" to be some criteria? Since when? How can a universal criteria agreed upon by everyone even be determined? Plus, why would something that is determined "trash" not be literature?

    In any case, I've read books that are critically acclaimed that I've not been impressed with.

  15. #405
    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    My heart lives in New York.
    Posts
    1,716
    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    Is Stephen King an appropriate author to discuss on a literature forum?

    The Wikipedia page on King, in the 'critical response' section, has no positive responses from any literary academic or acknowledged 'gatekeeper of literature'.

    But it has several negative responses.

    Richard Snyder, the former CEO of Simon & Schuster, described King's work as "non-literature", Harold Bloom really disliked him: 'The decision to give the National Book Foundation's annual award for "distinguished contribution" to Stephen King is extraordinary, another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life. I've described King in the past as a writer of penny dreadfuls, but perhaps even that is too kind. He shares nothing with Edgar Allan Poe. What he is is an immensely inadequate writer on a sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, book-by-book basis.'

    Even genre critics are harsh about him - Joshi argues that King's supernatural novels are mostly bloated, illogical, maudlin and prone to deus ex machina endings.

    Joshi suggests that King's strengths are the accessible "everyman" quality of his prose, and insightful observations about the pains and joys of adolescence. That seems about right, and perhaps explains his popularity amongst a young audience who "know no better".

    I did read a few King novels as an adolescent but gave up on him - for reasons that Joshi and Bloom explicate quite well - Tommyknockers was the final straw - what an awful book on every level!

    Discussing King here would be like discussing cold fusion in a physics forum - maybe it would be safer to seek out a Stephen King fan forum?!

    But I am now quite tempted to read "The Modern Weird Tale" by S. T. Joshi.
    There are quite a few professors that take King's work seriously such as Tony Magistrale. He even edited a collection of essays that you can find here, which includes work from lots of different professors. Assuming all the essays are positive then we can assume at least 14 professors in academia take King's work seriously. My guess is there are plenty more.

    Last time I checked, King's also been publishing his stories these days in the literary elite, The New Yorker. On the wiki page you quoted, it notes he won an O Henry award for a short story. You talk about Joshi's dislike, but fail to mention John Clute's positive assessment (one of the major genre critics of the century); he is a major and well-known genre critic. Not to mention King won the National Book Award Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. You can find quite a few college level syllabi with King either headlining or include in the course. That doesn't sound to me like someone who isn't being taken seriously.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutatis-Mutandi View Post
    We should determine discussion criteria based on the commentary of a whopping three critics? Why should critical acclaim even be a factor? It seems quite shortsighted to leave out any book not endorsed by a certain group of people. Not to mention incredibly close-minded, shortsighted, and pompous.

    Oh, and that you based your argument there solely on what Wikipedia provided is quite humorous.
    In these discussions, people will always invoke an imaginary nonexistent literati who unsurprisingly agree with their viewpoint. "Oh, no critics have anything positive to say about Harry Potter. No serious critic likes Stephen King."

    In reality, there is no such thing as a homogenous group of critics who all like the same books and all dislike the same books. There are plenty of critics teaching at universities today with published scholarly books on Stephen King and his work. Hell, there are plenty of dissertations on King's novels.
    Last edited by Drkshadow03; 10-18-2011 at 06:22 PM.
    "You understand well enough what slavery is, but freedom you have never experienced, so you do not know if it tastes sweet or bitter. If you ever did come to experience it, you would advise us to fight for it not with spears only, but with axes too." - Herodotus

    https://consolationofreading.wordpress.com/ - my book blog!
    Feed the Hungry!

Similar Threads

  1. We Need A Revolution In Literature!
    By WolfLarsen in forum General Writing
    Replies: 251
    Last Post: 01-10-2012, 06:56 PM
  2. Your national vs. world literature
    By aabbcc in forum General Literature
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-06-2008, 08:12 PM
  3. The King Who İs İnterested İn Astronomy
    By Zagor26 in forum Short Story Sharing
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-07-2007, 10:14 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •