Stop trying to turn literature into a self-help offshoot

Laura Miller goes off in Slate about the TED-Talk-mushification of literature, using some dude’s book as a launching point. While reading does (and should) have therapeutic aspects (catharsis, self revelation, etc.) dumbing literature down to match the rest of the pap pop culture serves us is a disservice.

Instead of the rabble of depressives, shirkers, grudge nursers, monomaniacs, and dogs in the manger that we know most great writers to be, Fletcher portrays the authors covered in Wonderworks as a gang of spunky Thomas Edisons, each intent on coding a new storytelling app whose value proposition is to improve our “daily mental health and happiness.” For thousands of years, the world’s great writers have provided “solutions” to problems people didn’t even realize they had, Fletcher declares, using the power of neuroscientific principles that hadn’t been discovered yet.

Is Fletcher dishonest, or merely ignorant? 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s