Monday, September 25, 2006

Low-brow Aesthetic, High Brow Ideas: Stephen King

This will be just a brief expansion on a continuing topic.

First, I would not suggest that high-brow aesthetic LACKS ideas. I would just suggest that what makes us think of something as high-brow is its FORM, not necessarily its IDEAS.

Second, I would like to propose another great example of the LBAHBI. I'm not going to write a lengthy essay defending the merits of Stephen King or the horror genre as a whole (I've done that many times before). But Stephen King is a great example. As a "literary" writer, he doesn't have much respect, being considered a "popular" writer, a "genre" writer, a "horror" writer (I won't defend his form here, though I think he is a master craftsman of narrative, and he is a completely underrated experimentalist). However, his books are full of IDEAS. There's substance within and around the horrors he writes about. There are significant themes to his horror that you can clearly pick up if you read a lot of his works, and read the best of his works. Sure, he'll give you the cheap thrills (maybe more often than not). But if you read King thinking you're going to get an easy pleasure, you're probably mistaken. There's something important and meaningful in his work.

No comments:

Post a Comment