Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Media and New Marketing IV

Here's a link to the latest review of "The Job", from Literary R&R. It is the most in-depth review so far, quite thoughtful, but still obviously falls short of fully understanding the book. A friend pointed out to me the letters of C.S. Lewis, in which he goes through a long list of reviews of "Out of the Silent Planet." The reviews were all glowing, but none of them understood the theological underpinnings of the story. I was prepared for this with "The Job"; in fact, it's somewhat gratifying to me that the story can be appreciated on several levels even by those who don't get it. I'm still awaiting that meaty review with real insight, though.

This all brings to a head the requirement that arts offer the consumer room for discovery. If an author (or painter, composer, etc.) makes his point so heavy-handedly that the consumer can't bring anything of himself into the work, then the artist has failed. The artist must be willing to allow the consumer to interpret the work either rightly or wrongly. I think I know what Dostoyevsky was getting at in "The Brothers Karamazov," but short of talking to him about it I'll never really know. But if I'm right, the man was a blinking genius. If an artist can leave an audience thinking that, whether they get it or not, then he's done pretty well.

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