[Vitriolic] Good Literature [Intense] (68)

1 Name: Enthusiast : 2005-12-05 20:50 ID:v+F5rxjK

How about a huge argument?
What makes good literature? What makes bad literature? What isn't literature at all?

2 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-06 18:53 ID:8S5JV9fA

> The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.
> -- Edwin Schlossberg

3 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-06 22:47 ID:QluLwk4H

Good literature is literature that you, personally, enjoyed reading.

4 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-07 15:52 ID:Heaven

You're violating the whole [Vitriolic] nature of the topic. Please step outside until the conclusion of the thread. Thank you.

5 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-08 18:06 ID:iy+E+s/L

I think everything on the New York Times bestseller list is bad literature. I think anything very popular in its own time will turn out to be bad literature in ten years. I think that it takes at least twenty years for the worth of a book, its true literary status, to even begin to be realized.
I hate the da vinci code and I don't understand why people I thought were intelligent like it.

6 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-08 18:37 ID:IJR7or1f

Da Vinci Code is terrible. I read Dan Brown's Digital Fortress too which was almost the exact same as Da Vinci Code. Both the books read like a movie script and insulted the reader's intelligence.

7 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-08 18:38 ID:IJR7or1f

>>6 Cont.
But the mythology and story was entertaining. Digital Fortress was boring though.

8 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-08 20:57 ID:v+F5rxjK

Now, I would like to discuss further what >>6 has said.
What does it mean, to insult the reader's intelligence? How do the books of Dan Brown accomplish this?
I encourage >>6 or others who have read these books to explain this in detail.

9 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-08 23:13 ID:Qn6Ir/x7

I haven't read any Dan Brown books, but I have read this highly entertaining blog by a linguist who likes to mock Dan Brown and his horrid writing, at length:


After reading some of that, I did open up a Dan Brown book at random in a book store, and nearly laughed out loud at the wonderfully stupid opening passage, which is also quoted in one of the articles:

> Death, in this forsaken place, could come in countless forms. Geologist Charles Brophy had endured the savage splendor of this terrain for years, and yet nothing could prepare him for a fate as barbarous and unnatural as the one about to befall him.

10 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-09 16:37 ID:IJR7or1f

Insult the reader's intelligence meaning that he assumes his readers are stupid. And LOL, the blog is funny. If you google Dan Brown, it comes up 4th.

11 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-09 20:39 ID:79sctjC4

I know that, I'm interested more in a deconstruction of his techniques. Although I guess the blog above might do that somewhat.

12 Name: Bubu F. Blackstab : 2005-12-09 21:33 ID:Heaven

Good literature for me is literature which requires an intellectual effort to consume. Writing that doesn't concentrate on action, but situation. Writing that carefully places words.

13 Name: Mr VacBob!JqK7T7zan. : 2005-12-09 23:19 ID:3FOt/O+j


The best part about Dan Brown's Digital Fortress is that the plot depends on basic math not working right. Also, someone invents "unbreakable encryption". Also, when they try the unbreakable encryption in the secret government magic unencryptor, it turns out to be a VIRUS! and deletes the Pentagon's network. Also they all stand around yelling instead of turning it off while it does this.

14 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-10 12:32 ID:Heaven

>>13 it's obviously a four dimensional religivirus


15 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-11 16:21 ID:Ql6wQzP6


So, was his technical consultant from First 4 Internet, or was it just a bottle of JD?
Oh, please tell me everyone gets fired after that. Please? Lie if you have to.

16 Name: Bubu F.W. Kraftjerk : 2005-12-11 17:43 ID:Heaven

everyone gets fucking fired

17 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-11 19:49 ID:Heaven



18 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-11 20:20 ID:Heaven

Looking at a lot of this:

Did the bastard even READ Applied Cryptography?

19 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-12 00:16 ID:Heaven


>Dan Brown literally does not know bits from bytes (he thinks an encoded message presented in groups of four letters separated by spaces can be called a "four-bit code")

20 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-14 22:19 ID:v+F5rxjK

>it's obviously a four dimensional religivirus

I lolled

What are your opinions on Stephen King? Most of his books are seem to be the same old bestseller crap, but often a story or scene will stick with me. Not just that one about the prison, but there was that one story where a boy goes to kill something, and his "reality" keeps switching, he becomes a knight killing a dragon, and then a Persian killing a giant snake, and etc...

21 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-15 18:53 ID:P0fTzP7u


> "a thundering iron gate" has fallen (by the way, it's the fall that makes a thundering noise: there's no such thing as a thundering gate).
> A voice doesn't speak —a person speaks; a voice is what a person speaks with.

What an obsessive-compulsive jerkwad. I mean, obviously Da Vinci Code is badly written-- it's pop lit-- but "thundering iron gate" is a perfectly good literary device. Having read his reviews I think it's time for me to read the book myself; it sounds like fun.

22 Name: Mr VacBob!JqK7T7zan. : 2005-12-15 23:12 ID:viCfsKWQ

> What are your opinions on Stephen King?

I read "The Tommyknockers". It was supposedly about people in a town being controlled by an alien device. Instead it was about a lump of space metal that made everyone menstruate a lot and grow tentacles. So, yeah.

23 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-20 14:41 ID:SNR4qL0+

I just tried googling for a phrase someone quoted from Angels & Demons that made me giggle:


And it turns out there's a handy Russian site that has the whole text online! This seems somewhat legally dubious, and you can now admire how cleverly I avoided linking to this questionable site!

Er, anyway: Just looking through it at random, I find gems like:

> Langdon did a double take. He remembered the CERN driver saying something about a huge machine buried in the earth. But—
> "It is over eight kilometers in diameter… and twenty-seven kilometers long."
> Langdon’s head whipped around. "Twenty-seven kilometers?" He stared at the director and then turned and looked into the darkened tunnel before him. "This tunnel is twenty-seven kilometers long? That’s… that’s over sixteen miles!"

24 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-20 20:03 ID:Heaven

haha, it reminds me of one of Bill Brysons columns. The weird urge americans have to state the obvious

heard on news: "Milwaukee had over 10 inches of snow.. That's almost a foot!"

ps. this is written by an american no longer living there and is simply a co-opted casual observation, no anti-american sentiments behind this, hell i don't even know where mr. Brown is from, he could be swedish for all i care, this is merely something that struck me as amusing and humorous

pps. forgot the vitriole, "fuck america" or something unless you want to interpret the ps. as sarcasm which is kinda related, i guess

25 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-20 20:11 ID:Heaven


> Antimatter is highly unstable. It ignites when it comes in contact with absolutely anything… even air. A single gram of antimatter contains the energy of a 20-kiloton nuclear bomb—the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
> The pilot nodded. "Altitude sickness. We were at sixty thousand feet. You’re thirty percent lighter up there. Lucky we only did a puddle jump. If we’d gone to Tokyo I’d have taken her all the way up—a hundred miles. Now that’ll get your insides rolling."

26 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-21 19:50 ID:Heaven

I think the "[Vitriol]" tag on this topic will go down in history as a failure. You just can't say on a whim, "This topic will have vitriol." The vitriol has to want to be there.

27 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-21 22:43 ID:Heaven

Fuck you, >>26. Your opinions aren't worth a gnat's ass.

28 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-22 06:01 ID:Heaven

yeah >>26 I put that vitriolic tag there and it was totally TONGUE IN CHEEK you stupid fuck

29 Name: Bookworm : 2005-12-23 03:17 ID:Heaven

>>28 Now THAT'S [Vitriol].

30 Name: Bookworm : 2006-01-07 05:53 ID:uWetLE9a

If you read any books by Stephen King, it's probably best to make those The Dark Tower series.

31 Name: Bookworm : 2006-01-13 05:18 ID:5SSh/rA2

the iliad

32 Name: Bookworm : 2006-01-14 00:07 ID:jL3OxBMM


I disagree, there's plenty of stuff out there that I know is good literature that I simply don't enjoy as my tastes are very specific. And in keeping with this thread's vitriolic requirements, I'd like to say: FKUC POETRY. I can't imagine a bigger waste of time than trying to unravel a supposedly beautiful mess of words so I can then figure out what annoyingly vapid message the poet may or may not have not been trying to get across.

33 Name: Bookworm : 2006-01-18 03:11 ID:Heaven

Often I feel like succumbing to the sentiment expressed in >>32 regarding poetry. Blase crap like you read in the New Yorker just doesn't spark any emotion in me, and the point of a poem is nowadays not as obvious as it was in the past when standardized meter made it easier to read even the boring poems.

But, there are good poets out there. Someone I know was editing a poetry review and she got the weirdest stuff imaginable, if it weren't unethical I'd get her to post some of it here. Probably the best poets just aren't published now because no one understands them yet.

34 Name: Bookworm : 2006-02-09 06:49 ID:QluLwk4H

most good poetry is from 10th-19th centuries
look for it

35 Name: Bookworm : 2006-02-12 12:31 ID:Heaven

>>34, do you fucking read poetry at all or did you just want to sound smart?

36 Name: Bookworm : 2006-02-15 03:13 ID:Heaven

yes i fucking read poetry, and i've never read any fucking good poetry from past 1900

37 Name: Bubu F. Bästard : 2006-02-15 20:33 ID:Heaven

I've never read any good poetry from before 1900!

38 Name: Bookworm : 2006-02-16 13:55 ID:Heaven


Maybe you should swap books or something.

39 Name: Bookworm : 2006-02-17 05:28 ID:QluLwk4H

okay, I remembered one poet i like from past 1900. e e cummings

40 Name: Bookworm : 2006-02-17 20:56 ID:Heaven

I like any poet from anywhere as long as their poetry doesn't appear in new yorker or harpers or any other magazine like that

41 Name: Bubu F. Bästard : 2006-02-17 23:04 ID:Heaven

okay, I remembered one poet I like from before 1900. p v zesen

42 Name: Bookworm : 2006-02-21 16:39 ID:/GAwxKZn

You don't need any poetry done before Baudelaire, actually. Perhaps some Romantics are fine, the rest is good for academical purposes and stuff and it's not necessarily bad (of course not), but Symbolism brought many technical innovations which were MUCH needed, and let's not forget about the influence futurists and surrealists have had on postmodernism (good postmodernism, that is).

43 Name: Bookworm : 2006-02-27 18:23 ID:P0fTzP7u

hurrr. you can talk about "good postmodernism" and i can talk about "good pre-modernism"

44 Name: dmpk2k!hinhT6kz2E : 2006-02-27 23:07 ID:Heaven

hahaha christ: http://books.guardian.co.uk/danbrown/story/0,,1719147,00.html

This is a bit sick though: The Da Vinci Code, which won best book at last year's British Book Awards...

45 Name: Bookworm : 2006-03-08 00:26 ID:A0c5Hero

hi guysi agree davinci code is excelent literature and revive modern lit as we know it

46 Name: Bookworm : 2006-03-08 02:44 ID:Heaven

I know someone who shouts "IT'S A STOOOORRYYYY" every time I point out the stupid, retarded mistakes Dan Brown made in that book.
Even fucking JK Rowling did enough research to get most of her major facts right. But Dan Brown?? "NEW SECULAR ORDER"???? Idiot!

47 Name: Bookworm : 2006-03-08 20:08 ID:QluLwk4H

48 Name: Bookworm : 2006-03-21 05:30 ID:kv2zC54M

are we talking about what makes a good read or what makes a good written work?

different evaluative frameworks...

49 Name: Julian : 2006-03-29 03:43 ID:Bprx3yZ+

have to agree with bookworm. A good read doesnt mean its a great literary work and vice versa - good example would be those trashy romance pocketbooks or those neverending anthologies - they're not necessarily well made but the content is entertaining.

There are some cases though that those two descriptions can be incorporated in one book but I have yet to think of a good book that had those.

50 Name: LeDQN!LeDqnM1Jj2 : 2006-03-31 06:29 ID:Heaven

I would say that good literature takes a subject of human interest and presents it to the reader in an artful and intelligent manner.

Dry definition, but hey, 'swhat I've got.

Works I'd think of as exemplary literature include Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Nietzsche, 1984 by Orwell, Farewell to Arms by Hemingway, Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (sp?) and Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata.

51 Name: Kurari : 2006-05-02 04:27 ID:/yd8ifU8

why so much vitriol towards new yorker. I love Salinger he kicks ass. JK Rowling is a crazy crack whore!!!

52 Name: Bookworm : 2006-06-27 21:36 ID:CUzEMo5/

What made you think she is a bad writer? I like Harry Potter very much. One reason is because my English is limited and books written in difficult English are out of my depth, though.

I like reading mystery and detective stories, though they are not in English. In my layman's opinion, what makes them interesting is due to plots and beautiful language. Both of them are really important. If a plot is not well thought out, I think I'll be bored. If an author's language is awful, I can't bring myself to continue reading.

By the way, I have a thing about books by Higashino Keigo.
He has written a lot of books, and all his books are really good.

53 Name: Bookworm : 2006-07-01 21:24 ID:cRcqkh+1

Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Enough said.

54 Name: Bookworm : 2006-07-04 11:35 ID:SNR4qL0+

> Enough said.

No. Not unless your intent was to post 20 letters, three of which are upper-case. That's all I got out of your post.

If you have something to say, say it. Don't assume all your listeners know what you are talking about and agree with you - in that case, there was no point in opening your mouth in the first place!

55 Name: L30eightyfive : 2006-07-21 17:18 ID:UNfXmbVf

personally i'd rather read something i know i'm going to learn from, than just some story a writer made up to make money. the books that i find the most valuable, are those that entertain and enlighten at the same time.

56 Name: Bookworm : 2006-10-03 15:31 ID:aj+U3vGY

As far as what makes art good art, I think it has to stick with the reader/viewer long after they're exposed to it. It should ideally inspire other works derived from the original.

I'd say in that respect Don Brown does come close to the standard. His books (not my favorites, BTW) did inspire people to look into Christian history. Steven King can't do that. The Dune series, at least for me, does much the same.

Or for movies, I'd have to point to Star Wars. This has to be the first Sci-Fi to spawn a real world religion.

For TV, I'd have to go with Lost and 24.

57 Name: Bookworm : 2006-10-06 23:21 ID:X9MNs/Sq

I like how this thread turned into being all about Dan Brown. The man must have done something right to have all of you bring him up as the first choice in a discussion like this..

I hope it's obvious to people here his stuff is POPPY, they're built like crimis ffs ;) reading it tells me it's not meant to be some super intelligent uber world shaking thing, but uses some important and controversial ideas to create a very interesting and entertaining story. This sort of story brings more of a kick to me than reading the typical kind of crimi, where some random person is just murdered and then you end up finding the murderer.


The question was what great literature in general is. >>2 definitely got it right. Of course the implication that people are selective and will not prefer certain contexts... GREAT literature can be a made context in which many people can think and of which many people can debate. This might happen while it's contemporary, or the work will become interesting and relevant at a later point in history. You never know what the future generations will think as the great literature of this day and age.

58 Name: Bookworm : 2006-10-13 00:36 ID:aj+U3vGY


Lots of things are "poopy&qu^ "poppy", but it did get people to ask questions that by and large hadn't been asked before. I think that that is a step toward being literature. I don't think he's a shakespeare, and I'm not sure what will happen to DVC in 10 years.

But I don't think being "poppy" disqualifies a work as literature. Shakespeare was popular in his time, Lucas was in his, Mozart etc. They were -- at the time of course -- reasonably popular. I don't agree with the popular conceit that if "the unwashed masses" liked it, it can't possibly be anything literary or deep. Great artists, IMO are capable of both.

A great piece of literature is also timeless. If someone 40 years later can relate to something you wrote, it's likely that it's literature. I read some of Ray Bradbury's stuff, and Brave New World, and 1984, most of this was written in the '50s and '60s, yet it makes perfect sense to me, a person not even conceived in the years those books are published. They made me think about things that I'd never thought about.

59 Name: The Chairman of the Bored : 2006-10-14 02:31 ID:vFrZfzXo

  • Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  • 1984 - George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair)
  • Early Philippine short fiction (say 1925-1940)
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
  • The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
  • & many others.

If we're talking poetry as literature, it needs to evoke a feeling that you have never been able to put your finger on before, describe something in a way that you have never heard a thing described previously - while still being accurate and clever. (Think John Donne or T.S. Eliot "The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock" or Emerson's seriously haunting lines in Brahma: "They reckon ill who leave me out; When me they fly, I am the wings".) Great poetry wraps you up in its language like...a mummy...or Sailor Moon when she was transforming and that translucent pink ribbony stuff wrapped around her...

Great poetry makes you think thoughts that you had never conceived of before, or view old ideas in a uniquely new light. Even a poem that is trite or average can be redeemed by containing an image or an idea that is somehow profound.

60 Name: Bookworm : 2006-10-14 22:28 ID:aj+U3vGY

I think we're talking literature in general. I tend toward novels and scifi, but I think what's true of one type of art ought to work for others. What makes Shakespeare great would also work if applied to TV shows (though they'd have to modernise the Middle English a good bit), and would likely make a good novel, if done correctly.

I think a great piece of literature also has to speak to human experience -- it shouldn't be so wrapped in "German culture" or "American culture" that it wouldn't make sense to a Kenyan or a Japanese. That's one thing I like about MAnga, it can speak to me even though it's in a sense written to Japanese people.

61 Name: kurari : 2006-11-30 18:14 ID:Hn53B0QU

Salinger rules, catcher in the rye inspires mind-control doo doo doo doo (twilight theme thing). I never read the da vinci code but I didn't like the movie. Shakespeare rules, and look at how awesome kurosawa's movies are. They take shakespeare plots and play them out with samurais, and they are still incredibly thrilling. I like how he portrays shakespearean characters and such. I saw part of the macbeth one, throne of blood, I liked how the fates were played by this buddhist warlock dude.

62 Name: Bookworm : 2006-12-05 12:54 ID:aj+U3vGY


MacBeth occurs in Scottland ... I don't see where Buddha comes in.

63 Name: Bookworm : 2006-12-22 10:48 ID:xQ63I09W

Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
The trial - Kafka
The Castle - Kafka
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Idiot - Dostoyovsky
Robbery under Arms - Rolf Boldrewood
Lolita - Nabokov

64 Name: Bookworm : 2006-12-23 04:40 ID:ElVM6KPo

I agree with 63. No doubt 63 has also read some other excellent reads, Journey into the night, by Celine and On the edge of reason by Miroslav Krleza.

65 Name: Kurari : 2006-12-25 05:53 ID:UR7GORrH


Dude in Throne of Blood it doesn't take place in scottland same story different setting duh hhahaa. What is your point about Macbeth being in Scottland get rid of all the scottish nights and replace them with Samurai and the king with a Shogun hahha. like another example of a story being put ina different setting with a movie is Matchpoint which is a film adaptation of Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. Hhahah 63 read his huge ass books but can't even spell his name right what a dumbass.

66 Name: Bookworm : 2006-12-25 10:19 ID:PUJTJNtx

North Korea thinks that I sell a nuclear weapon to Islam radical group from lack of funds at last.

I think that a radical group uses the nuclear weapon which I bought from North Korea for American attack

North Korea is the country which is dangerous to U.S.A

67 Name: Bookworm : 2006-12-25 11:08 ID:BL7xNUAM



He Kills corrupt DPRK agents in a single punch.

68 Name: Bookworm : 2006-12-26 02:39 ID:T4w/roXn

I personally enjoyed the writing in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatspy, even though it relies on the reader's understanding of American culture. I think a book like The Razor's Edge (which I understand even if I don't know that setting) might approach "ideal literature." As for sci fi, I believe stories such as RAH's might come close also, because they are realistic, yet they provide insights into new ideas (social credit, for example).

As for poetry, I enjoy Poe's writing (even though it could be considered depraved by some), e. e. cummings, and Shakzpre.

Now to be vitriolic: Dan Brown's works have exactly the same plotline (murder, mystery, then pseudoscientific explaination, and end with a sex scene!), Dickens' characters are simple and boring (and do I sense a hint of intellectualism?), and most popular books fall below a standard of literature.

This thread has been closed. You cannot post in this thread any longer.