domingo, 19 de julho de 2015

The cultural link between marriage and novel


“Those damnable Brontë sisters were shoved down my throat. Steinbeck was almost ruined forever thanks to a brutally inept teaching of The Pearl. To this day, I still have no idea what Bless Me, Ultima is about. It turned me off from reading novels until my early twenties. I became far more enraptured with movies, musicals, and plays. These formats seized my attention and gave me large and instant rewards for spending time with them. Reading novels alongside thirty-two other students in tenth grade did not.”

→ Natasha Vargas-Cooper: Why We Should Stop Teaching Novels to High School Students

The institution of marriage is at the center of the traditional novel. As marriage is dying, novel must die too. There's a cultural tendency in the whole West (not only in the US) to kill the novel.

Natasha Vargas-Cooper's article is labeled (by her) as “non-fiction”. Generically, non-fiction is supposed to be a “rational discourse” that includes philosophy. At the bottom, Natasha Vargas-Cooper's article is philosophical — as she writes: “Journalism, essay, memoir, creative nonfiction: These are only things I started reading as an adult because of how little I enjoyed reading novels in high school”.

Natasha Vargas-Cooper's concept of literature is contradictory in terms. She would never (ever!) have gained her language control without reading the old and “musty” novel. And that's why the novel (as she called “fiction” in contra-position to her “non-fiction”) is the best way to teach children and adolescent to gain control of the language heritage. You just cannot teach philosophy to children and even to early teenagers; we must tell them well written stories (for example, Poetry is Philosophy without Logic).

Natasha Vargas-Cooper's problem with the novel is the “romance”. Romance should be banned.

As she writes: “Those damnable Brontë sisters were shoved down my throat”. Novels have an ethical underlying that links romance to the traditional institution of marriage. Even when the novel is negative (for example, “Madame de Bovary”), marriage and the ethical values of faithfulness and treason are at the center of the romance. In the novel, emasculated men and feminine women are complementary: just take off this complementarity out of the picture and both marriage and novel are doomed.

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