It has been almost six months since Alan asked me to write him a guest blog post. He knows I’m fairly passionate and opinionated about the “Literary vs. Genre” debate, and that’s what he suggested I write about. That’ll be easy enough, I thought. So I agreed.
Turns out, it wasn’t so easy after all. So, instead of trying to create some kind of logical argument — as I was originally intending to do — I’m just going to wing it. Trust my instincts, follow my heart, and just lay it all on the table.
First, let me paste two comments I recently found accompanying articles re: the Literature vs Genre debate. They demonstrate why I get a bit angry when the topic comes up:
EXHIBIT A: User comment on article on whether Crime Fiction is real Literature [see Note 6 below]
“crime fiction has more in common with the crossword puzzle than with literature”
EXHIBIT B: User comment seen on Facebook:
“To me, literary fiction is just another genre, and today it means ‘realistic fiction written by professors, for professors.’”
[I can’t remember who said this, but I think the position is common enough amongst Genre readers and writers that the specifics aren’t important.]
Now, I’m not a professor and I ain’t had no fancy learnin’, but that sounds like crazy talk to me. Both comments based on a misguided and narrow view of what Literature and Genre might actually mean. And, though there’s been a lot of great work in breaking this ridiculously false barrier down, both sides still maintain a strong core of stubbornness and, to me, it seems a horrible prejudice.