Why Literature Still Matters

February 7th, 2009

What's the point of literature in the digital age?  To preserve ancient memories on rotting paper?  Nick Lewis summed up a broadly held view:

Blogs are ephemeral like our thoughts: an uncivilized, pristine wilderness as far as literary mediums are concerned. Then again, a civilized literary medium is probably nothing more than a bunch of professors convincing themselves that they are not lost in the wilderness. Or maybe that's just me projecting how I felt while listening to lectures in literature 1.

That says a lot about the failure of professors to inspire their students about why literature has always been a route to the human heart.

Literature still has the power to disrupt, to inspire, to soothe.

See, I believe in literature and in writing. In all kinds of writing on many subjects from novels to architecture, from poetry to cultural criticism.  Beyond mere entertainment,  literature, achieved through writing, can still be subversive, can still seduce, and undermine.  When words move beyond simplistic entertainment, they deal with ideas and themes that exist across time.  Literature brings us to think about concepts that no longer appear in any discourse and are not so present in the dynamic digital world:  life, death, loss,  dignity, excellence, paradox, respect, irony, civility, altruism, all the varieties of tragedy, and joy too.  Also, good literature provides the pleasure of words. Just as bloggers get immense pleasure in putting their words together, so does the literary writer.  The language and syntax may be different, but underneath the satisfaction is not so different. Unfortunately, people often need to be taught to appreciate and understand the pleasure words.  It is the learning process that creates consciousness about the pleasure of words and ideas.


Test Blog Entry

February 9th, 2009


Anthony Alofsin, Ph.D., FAIA

Award-winning artist and architect, author and art historian, Anthony Alofsin is internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and as an expert on modern architecture.


Ingenious Giant, Frank Lloyd Wright in New York

In press, due 2017.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Art Collector


Frank Lloyd Wright, Art Collector          In Frank Lloyd Wright, Art Collector, Anthony Alofsin presents the first catalogue raisonné of the thirty-two prints and one original drawing that constitute Wright’s Secessionist print collection.  Alofsin explores Wright’s encounters with German and Austrian art before his travels to Europe; the fluid definition of modern art around 1909; and the complex context for Wright’s acquiring his collection while in Europe. This book, with its original research, puts into a new light a range of artists, some famous, others unknown, who sought to express, like Wright, their own rebellion against academic traditions. A unique contribution to the history of modern art, Frank Lloyd Wright, Art Collector offers stunningly original insights into the master’s artistic taste, as well as to a group of progressive artists whose work has been undeservedly overlooked in conventional histories of modernism.

Order your copy at University of Texas Press


Latest Fiction

Halflife is a fictive memoir, hovering between fiction and biography. Recalling the measure of decay that describes how radioactive isotopes die even as they live, a young man who, in his search for love and meaning, discovers loss and hopelessness as atoms in the same physical universe.  From the perspective of age 35, which he assumes is the mid-point in his own life, the narrator reflects on the friends, women, neighbors, places, plants, and animals he has encountered.

His journey has taken him to the mountains of New Mexico, the desert of Arizona, the urban heart of San Francisco, a contemplative family island retreat in Rhode Island, the rotting and mysterious Villa Trice in Austin, with a final look back at a childhood in Memphis.This book gives us the exuberance and creativity of youth and love yet it adds with unusual honesty the sense that experience does not simply exist in the present, but carries at the same time the weight of its past and the foreshadowing of its future, that the fullness of life contains many opposite particles.

"...a pure pleasure... written with such delicacy, such a lightness of touch. I could not have enjoyed it more."

- Anne Engel

Order your copy from Amazon or Book Surge

Dream Home: What You Need to Know Before You Buy

Consummate consumer's guide. Two editions.