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So if I'm reading this guy correctly, the essential part of literature (the part that comes through on TV) is the plot-derived moral?

Someone might remind O'Hagan that much of the world's best literature has had fairly uninspired morals and plotlines. It's not a book's moral that we're interested in nearly so much as how the situation is portrayed--the novelist's style. If O'Hagan can't see that then I have a difficult time seeing him as a novelist of much worth.

Amrit Hallan

May be it's not a good idea to advise people to shun TV and read books, from a critics point of view I can understand the angst. After all you write a critique for people who might actually be interested in reading a particular book and since a critique is a passionate commentary on the book, it can hardly be shorn of personal remarks of the critic.


I remember watching, when I was a kid, those Masterpiece Theater versions of The Golden Bowl and Jude the Obscure. I got a lot out of them, and even went on to read Henry James and Thomas Hardy. If I were to watch them now, I might very well think them hokey or middle-brow, but I think of them now with fondness. At worst they are simply harmless, at best, a useful bridge over to the works themselves. The O'Hagan point seems to be expressed rather clumsily, and I understand your objection to it. Film/television adaptations can never replace the original works, but they can and do stimulate interest in them.

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