« Criticism: Now in little boxes for your viewing pleasure | Main | "These are the terms, Buddy..." »

January 29, 2007

Eagleton "What is Literature?"

"What we have uncovered so far, then, is not only that literature does not exist in the sense that insects do, and that value-judgements by which it is constituted are historically valuable, but that the value-judgements themselves have a close relation to social ideologies" (p. 16).

We tend to decide whether we like a book based on whether we agree with the values of the type of book we are reading and I think Eagleton related that very well. He also explains Formalism in a way that allows us to understand how it formed and that the language can give many clues to the context. Back to value-judgements, after reading Eagleton's perspective on this, do you think it is okay to avoid reading books that have topics that go against your values? I think we should, because as I've said before, we can all read for pleasure, but I want to read to be changed or at least develop a stronger feeling towards a work.

Posted by ErinWaite at January 29, 2007 10:15 AM


My 17-year-old brother has been on this kick recently where he's been really interested in communism and socialism (okay, whatever). He, believing me to be a right-wing conservative (which I never thought myself to be, but okay, whatever), has been bringing home or mentioning these books about communism and socialism and has been telling me how much I should read them.

When you ask if we should read books with values that are different from our own, I wholeheartedly believe that we SHOULD. It's good to have an opinion, and even better to see what the other side's opinion of that opinion is. Kind of like this blogging thing we do here.

However, in the case like that of my brother, where I'm constantly being reminded of this book that says this and this book that says that, I start to get a little angry. There's a difference between reading with an interest, and reading because it's shoved down your throat. Like people who hand out religious pamphlets to gay people that say, "So you're going to hell?" Stuff like that is when I'm a little uncertain.

Posted by: Valerie at January 29, 2007 7:58 PM

I agree completely. Thanks for taking the time to share all that. We are constantly pushed by teachers, family, peers, etc. to look at things from different "perspectives," but if it's more of "Hey read this join MY church, or listen to this and have MY values," then I say forget it! We are entitled to our own opinions. It's okay to be open but not forced into anything.

Posted by: Erin Waite at January 30, 2007 12:02 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?