December 30, 2009

Why is Our Top Categorical Distinction for Literature Between Fiction and Non-Fiction?

While the delineation between fiction and non-fiction exists, I don't think it's the most authoritative categorization of literature (or reality). I blame the Enlightenment.


Laura said...

On to this one again huh? I thought we already decided the problem lies in a distinction/lack of distinction between truth and fact. Or are you just posing the question to a wider audience? :)

Brian said...

So, what would your ideal distinctions be?

In a perfect world, I would decide all things. Then, the categories would be something like:
Brian loves it
Brian likes it
Brian thinks it's useful
Brian doesn't care for it.
Brian thinks it's trash.

Jacob Haynes said...

I like your categories.

Ideally my literature would be broken up into topical categories: Art, Science, Geography, Theology,(whatever I have enough of to make a category). Then under the larger category of science you could have science reference, non-fiction, and fiction.

Shoot, in an ideal world I would have a 3-dimensional book shelving system that would allow me to put Moby Dick into three diferent categories american novel, nautical science, and historic travel. But I think I would be bending too much space with this conceptual bookshelf.

Brian said...

Jacob, I like those ideas. I'm going to invent that another life.

And please tell your wife to call me. I left her a message earlier, and I'm not sure if she got it.

Will Blair Art said...

True, true. In a practical matter of speaking, the conventional categorical fiction/non-fiction labeling system is very limiting. I agree that there should be a genera based system where multiple themes can be cross-referenced.

In a philosophical matter of speaking, one can argue "what is real and what is fictitious?". Hegel would argue that reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant via the categorical imperative is holding that ontologically there should be no categorical system because all exists only in the imagination, and Marx would suggest to just file the stupid book.

Jacob Haynes said...

The original thought stemmed from the fact that I don't like our society's current obsession with making a hard distinction between the so called fictitious and non-fictitious. Good thoughts.