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lainchan archive - /lit/ - 114

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This topic lead to a bit of discussion on other websites when I started it so might as well talk about it here too.

How do you best appreciate a book? Do you read it in a superficial way and only look at the surface (story, setting) or do you go deeper to find more?
Most books released nowadays barely have any deeper meaning, they mostly repeat "criticism" that was mentioned in tons of other books (for example like most YA or dystopia books criticise our current society)

Is it correct to analyze poems and prose or should they be enjoyed aesthetically and emotionally?

I like to think of this movie clip of The Dead Poets Society


I haven't read much literature but I am going through some philosophical novels soon; Dostoyevsky and Pirsig. My thoughts on the matter are in my thread https://lainchan.org/lit/res/7.html which sadly has been only responded to three times, and of those three have completely disregarded the topic.

How one first goes through a book I believe should be attempting to see and converse with the author. If the book is sufficiently interesting, read it a second time with a sharper eye and asking more questions but in a manner of challenging the author. Re-read as many times as necessary and pause frequently.


I'm more inclined to read classics than what's current.


I also prefer classics over whats current but I can't help but feel pretentious saying that out loud. Truth be told I know very little about contemporary literature and perhaps if I made an effort to learn I'd be able to find some enjoyable reads.

Of course I try to appreciate stories at a deeper level. With poetry my chief pleasure is an appreciation for the aesthetics and emotional appeal but if the poet is writing in a context I am particularly interested in I try my best to analyze it.


>Is it correct to analyze poems and prose or should they be enjoyed aesthetically and emotionally?
I don't think this is an either/or situation. Great literature sees aesthetic and intellectual enjoyment come together to create a whole package that is best served by a combined approach. Consider the poetry of Wallace Stevens, for example. He's a master of rhythm and musicality, and the beauty of his words easily stands on its own. However, his poems are also imbued with cutting insight regarding the nature of being and perception, and a student of his would be sorely missing out if they were to ignore this aspect of his work.

That said, I would much rather read something "purely" aesthetic than "purely" intellectual. Beauty is the soul of art, and it is something far bigger and more complex than we will ever understand. Intellect is a human device, and it can be satisfied elsewhere.