Is literature always subjective?
I'm writing a Hub on it and want to know your answers!
Well, it depends on if your question is asking based on the reader or writer. Either way, literature is always subjective. But I guess my response should be tempered with the contradictory response of literature is always objective too. For example, one could write about a factual event (objective) but then have some of the commentary influenced by personal bias or impact (subjective). A literature scholar by the name of Stanley Fish does a lot of work on the theory of reader-response criticism. This could help enlighten the direction of your hub.
Hope this helps!
Why do people write? It is because they want to express something. Some feeling, emotion, thought or all that in a pile. Whether they write a story, or novel, the characters in it will bear certain qualities - virtues or faults - that the author appresiates or denies. You may not say it directly, but your opinion can be perceived between the lines.
Furthermore, each story, essay or book is intended by the author to make some impression, to raise question or to give answers, and all these refracted through author's personal prism. It is true that almost nothing on this world is new and unseen, and that everybody has read or heard about the topics he writes about elsewhere. Each author makes research on his work before writes on it. The important point is, whether his work bears new aspects or follows the shades of his predecessors.
So to me literature is always subjective.
I like to think it is, and tell my students that their opinion matters...it is curious that sometimes the writer is not even aware of his or her ambiguity. But, there are many professors who teach lit crit who will tell you differently. Many!
Literature (not scientific literature) is subjective in the sense that most of its sentences are verified by how people feel, how they act, how they "see." Contrast it with science where statements of facts are verified by facts and where relationships like " left of" are verified by things outside the person. Literature consists of verifiable sentences and unverifiable ones, verifiable concepts and relationships and unverifiable concepts and relationships. If all were verifiable, imagery would have no part at all. I can say, in literature, "I flew on 747 jumbo from the Philippines to America. When I landed President Obama was there to welcome me." My plane ride is readily verifiable but Obama is most likely a figment of my mind. Norman Mailer added a colorful word, "factoid." A movie is a factoid in that the moving pictures are verifiable as separate frames but the whole story is fictitious. Marilyn Monroe is verifiable as a person but the character she is portraying is not verifiable.
Thank you for the idea,
Related to the topic you raised I think that the literature in most part of its content is subjective. But in the relationship between the human being everywhere in the world exist always the subjectivity. That doesn’t mean that in all thinks expressed within every topic discussed between the people does not have any kind of objectivity. So both things associate the judgment of people. The same exist also in the literature. The literature is nothing else than the reflection of objective reality expressed in an artistic way or manner. And that would be always present within the human thought even in that most metaphysic one. I think that in the world of today are present two principal kinds of artistic literature, the primary and the secondary literature. The primary is that presented from the most representative writers or philosopher but they do not cover geographically the most area of the human map. There is the secondary literature that does it in the most appropriated manner. People that know each other and that have their own closed social circle ore in some cases organized in associations writes in most cases very interesting things. They read each other. So in the modern world the literature isn’t yet any more an intellectual property of the platonic strata of the society. The literature, following to my idea is taking every day the character of the personality of a man. So today or in the near future the people will ask each other: -please would you tell me, or us, your poetry or your written stories (short or long ones). Or, which are your poems? Such a new property of the people will be done as an indicator of the inner world of a man. The man will be done more and more transparent. The literature will be one of the important supporting factors.
Thanks for all the answers! I posted the Hub yesterday, and it seems to be a little off from what many have said. I specifically addressed the notion that any piece of literature could be deemed worthless, or if there are some definite qualities that could make something worthwhile.
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