Thursday, April 03, 2008
When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)
My daughter, who'll graduate from college next month with a degree in Slavic linguistics, started reading Dostoevsky back in 8th grade. At some point in 9th grade she informed me that she'd determined the distinguishing element that separated a work of literature from mere fiction:
It had to have a prostitute in it.
Such a witty girl.
Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?
Something else my daughter told me.
She took an intro to philosophy class (discussed Dostoevsky's prostitutes with the instructor), then told me she'd figured me out: I was a hedonist.
What took you so long? I asked, no doubt offering her a chocolate chip cookie.
All that highbrow stuff, she said, between crumbs. But you just read it because you like it.
Aren't I lucky she's never taken an abnormal psych class?
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