Btb3
Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press

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04/26/2007

Comments

Mark

Satire is always moralistic, right? In good satire, though we know the author's game from the outset, there is enough internal play of intuition (humor, usually) to make the experience satisfying. Still, even the best satirists seem to occupy an asterisked place in the pantheon.

There is also the phenonmenon of the writer who navigates questions of morality intuitively. That is, the narrative is not a slave to some predetermined moral point, but many a thought/incident/character are used to moralizing effect. This approach works by dint of sheer brainpower: the author arrives at conclusions that we could not have mustered on our own, and that even s/he would not have been able to offer at the outset, prior to the actual involvement with language, character, etc. Musil and Proust rule this realm.

Dan Green

"That is, the narrative is not a slave to some predetermined moral point, but many a thought/incident/character are used to moralizing effect."

I'm not sure I would call it "moralizing" effect. I think what you're describing would simply follow as "moral content" in the way Dewey uses the term.

Mark

"I think what you're describing would simply follow as "moral content" in the way Dewey uses the term."

Yes, I guess you're right, though I have only your posts to go on--I haven't read Dewey. But still, with Musil in particular, the project is utterly dominated by "moral content" (characters are used exclusively to illustrate ideas) and yet it's an aesthetic thrill (rather than some set of life lessons) that he offers. I can't figure out why it doesn't feel tedious or didactic, except that he's just smarter and a better writer than virtually anyone else who has attempted to use prose fiction for similar purposes.

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Jp3
The Art of Disturbance--Available as Pdf and Kindle Ebook
Deweylp1
Literary Pragmatism--Available as a Pdf