I was reading an article that calls great literature “morally subversive.” For example Lionel Trilling said of modernist literature that it "asks every question that is forbidden in polite society. It asks us if we are content with our marriages, with our family lives, with our professional lives, with our friends."
In the article, the author makes the argument that great literature shouldn’t be taught in school, because great literature is too personal and too alien for the classroom. Teaching lit in the classroom flattens literature and drains it of blood.
I think there’s some hyperbole in that position.
But I like the article’s portrayal of literature as something outside the domain of the usual, a bridge into alternate lives.
The same could be said of music, of course. I remember when a high-school English Studies teacher read aloud the lyrics of a Jimi Hendrix song and asked the class to analyze what the song was about. It damn near killed that song in my head forever to hear it read so flatly and prosaically by a teacher who was just filling a requirement to make her classes more “relevant” to modern culture.
Link to the article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...296798048.html