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.

 

Anthony Alofsin, Ph.D., AIA

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.

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

http://utpress.utexas.edu/index.php/books/alofra

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Order your copy from Amazon or Book Surge

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