The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #148530   Message #3449369
Posted By: pdq
08-Dec-12 - 03:21 PM
Thread Name: BS: New curricula in US schools?
Subject: RE: BS: New curricula in US schools?
I used the term High Literature to describe the book mentioned in the initial post.

For a couple of Mudcatters who are "thick as a brick"...

from here:

High Literature vs Popular Literature

Written by son of rambow on Monday, July 06, 2009

In "Popular Literature" class—when I was a student at American Studies Gadjah Mada University majoring 'American Literature and Culture'—my classmates and I used to have lively discussion on "dichotomy" of popular literature—often considered as low quality literature—versus high-brow literature. Why should this dichotomy exist? Who has privilege to decide which kind of literature is considered pop and which is high? And why should some people feel that they have that privilege?

Some literary critics said that when a work was produced only to follow what public wanted to read—just for fun or entertainment, no "deep meaning" under the surface of the story—then it would be categorized into "pop literature". In addition to that, people also said the work was only for commercial's need, because the writer needed money when writing. On the contrary, when a work was produced not only to follow public's needs, it was written more to fulfill the writer's ambition to communicate "something important" to readers, so that the work had "deep meaning", then the work could be categorized into "high-brow literature".

However, when talking about Jack London's works, who would say that his works do not have deep meaning whereas London himself said that he wrote them only formoney? Literary critics even classified London's works into high-brow literature.

Besides that, critics said that the parameter of high-brow literature was when one work deserved to be included into canon. The canon here usually refers to "big anthologies" such as Norton Anthology, Heath Anthology, etc. Again, I want to ask, who has privilege to select which works to be included into those anthologies?

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