in Literature

Contract vs. Status writing

An attack on postmodern literature by Jonathan Franzen, which equates difficulty with high art. I see an analogy to design.

The original article is offline in the New Yorker, an interview is online.

‘…I think it’s kind of a natural idea. As a student, you’re handed Milton or Shakespeare, you’re told that it’s great literature, and you find it difficult to read – at least, at first. Or you’re in gym class, trying to pole vault, and the bar keeps getting raised, and you learn that the more difficult the jump the better it is. If you think of a novel as a contract between the reader and the writer, an agreement to entertain and be entertained, difficulty doesn’t make much sense…’