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Thread: Does Being Intelligent Have Anything to Do with Writing Good Literature?

  1. #46
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    I figure an intellectual, at the bare minimum, must know what James Joyce is jabbering about in Finnegans Wake.

  2. #47
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    If you know already know he's jabbering you move up a step.

  3. #48
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    Come to think of it, since I do like to shoot my mouth about what i have only passing familiarity with, I probably am an intellectual.

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    Elitist!

  5. #50
    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Try graduating from a famous school. I don't know what it's like in 'ol Blighty, but over here you have to cover it up or people become desperately intent on proving (to themselves--why would I care?) that: 1) you're bragging--no matter how hard you try to hide it; 2) learning doesn't matter: they're the ones with "how-to smarts"; and 3) you are an elitist. That's my favorite. I'm not as good as you guys because I'm an elitist. Now that's funny.
    So true. When Mitt Romney ran for president they had to downplay the fact he spoke fluent French, because it would actuall hurt his campaign. That was quite sad.

  6. #51
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Putin speaks fluent German, (from when Head of Station in Berlin during the Cold War) but it does not seem to have affected his political advancement.

    Perhaps Mitt should have ridden bare chested, on a white charger in Washington to have furthered his chances.

    A lot of the Victorian Prime Ministers came from "good" schools and were well versed in the classics. I suppose that was an assumed pre-qualification for high office in those days.

    But Harold Wilson (Double- First Degree) always struck me as possessing a formal intellect and subsequently did not know what to do with it.
    Last edited by MANICHAEAN; 07-18-2015 at 06:45 AM.

  7. #52
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MANICHAEAN View Post
    But Harold Wilson (Double- First Degree) always struck me as possessing a formal intellectual and subsequently did not know what to do with it.
    Even if he did, he wouldn't have been allowed to. Labour was firmly shackled to the trades unions and they ensured that he kept on the road to ruin. How else could he have made a speech in which he claimed the government deceived the unions on a concilliatory economic policy with the phrase: "And so it's out with the allegro and in with the agro."

    Not very double first.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  8. #53
    Eiseabhal
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    I think that's quite a quip from 'arold

  9. #54
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eiseabhal View Post
    I think that's quite a quip from 'arold
    How about informing the electorate of his government's devaluation of the pound with: "This doesn't affect the pound in your pocket."
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  10. #55
    Eiseabhal
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    That doesn't fit my definition of a quip - more political flim-flam. However it was in my experience that the working class in the sixties and seventies made great strides in material comfort in the UK. This was not maintained. It is now the haves who make most material progress while the have less and have little are once again falling behind. I offer this as my own personal experience with no overt political statement attached.

  11. #56
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    The creative act is part instinct, part intuition, part intellect, and part knowledge. I think any artist (not just writers) can excel at a few of these and be (relatively) weak in a few of these and still be a great artist. There is plenty of great art that didn't require great intelligence or knowledge to conceive, but might require greater intelligence and knowledge to appreciate. Likewise, there's plenty of great art that clearly took a lot of intelligence and knowledge that is immediate and visceral. I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer to the mixture of these elements. I suspect that when one is innately oriented towards one or two of these aspects they tend to rely on that more when it comes to creativity, so an intelligent/knowledgeable person depends more on abstract conceptions, drawing on what they know, planning, design, etc., while an instinctual/intuitive person is more apt to just let their creativity free. Both approaches can produce greatness. I suspect, though, that the best works are when we get a certain amount of balance between them, like where intelligence and knowledge is used to edit or shape what the instinct and intuition produces, or instinct and intuition are used to correct those moments where intelligence and knowledge seems to not work on some ineffable level.

    So, I guess this is a very long way of saying: it depends.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

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  12. #57
    Registered User UlyssesE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    The creative act is part instinct, part intuition, part intellect, and part knowledge. I think any artist (not just writers) can excel at a few of these and be (relatively) weak in a few of these and still be a great artist. There is plenty of great art that didn't require great intelligence or knowledge to conceive, but might require greater intelligence and knowledge to appreciate. Likewise, there's plenty of great art that clearly took a lot of intelligence and knowledge that is immediate and visceral. I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer to the mixture of these elements. I suspect that when one is innately oriented towards one or two of these aspects they tend to rely on that more when it comes to creativity, so an intelligent/knowledgeable person depends more on abstract conceptions, drawing on what they know, planning, design, etc., while an instinctual/intuitive person is more apt to just let their creativity free. Both approaches can produce greatness. I suspect, though, that the best works are when we get a certain amount of balance between them, like where intelligence and knowledge is used to edit or shape what the instinct and intuition produces, or instinct and intuition are used to correct those moments where intelligence and knowledge seems to not work on some ineffable level.

    So, I guess this is a very long way of saying: it depends.
    Very well said! I would have to agree.

  13. #58
    Registered User Gutted's Avatar
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    There is a bare minimum of intellegence required to write good literature (basic critical thinking, a triple digit IQ, etc), but some level of life experience seems to be important in order to tap into the human condition in a way that is relatable and engaging to the reader. Many writers are just starting to dip their toes in the water in their late twenties and early thirties, while those of a similar age in other artforms are already past their prime and on the decline.

  14. #59
    Registered User pyrophile's Avatar
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    I think you have to be reasonably intelligent if your work is going to be "great"; acute observations of humans and societies don't come without inspiration and logical thought. Furthermore, it takes more effort to portray philosophical ideas in fiction than it does simply to state them.

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    You are right fire-lover. It is fundamental to good fiction that it illustrates ideas well. When it simply states ideas it is dull dull dull

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