I stand corrected

January 06, 2004

A few posts down I explain why historians love second-rate novels.

My typology of novels has been challenged successfully. Let me write a new introductory paragraph.

Historians love second-rate novels. We read novels not for the plot or the characters or even the language, although all are bonuses, but rather for their ability to shine light on the author's universe. Novels are most useful for us when they are either completely immersed in the author's time and place - William Dean Howels A Modern Instance - or when they are flawed in such a way as to expose the fault lines in the author's society. All novels wrestle with the author and their opinions on the world around them; some flawed novels shows these strains so clearly that even a panicked undergraduate can see them. These flawed novels are just what the historian calls for.

I read a lot of light science fiction ...

Posted by Red Ted at January 6, 2004 08:46 AM | TrackBack