Writers' Ink at Caledon Public Library

Pleasure from Bad Stories, Pain from Good Ones

Benjamin Moser

The enjoyment we get from reading lies with the writing – ‘ “Books are well written, or badly written”, Oscar Wilde wrote. “That is all.” Any writer sees the terrifying challenge lurking behind the false modesty of “That is all”. And any writer knows that rather than reflecting an absinthe-soaked indifference to moral content, Wilde’s phrase contains another challenge: to make something beautiful out of even the dullest or most monstrous reality. The story of Macbeth is ugly; ‘Macbeth’ is not.’

‘Art, beauty, pleasure: “That is all” that distinguishes Shakespeare from a tedious sermon, and even those who believe that conveying moral messages is the task of literature cannot believe that their points are best scored through jargon.’

From Benjamin Moser in ‘When It Comes to Reading, Is Pleasure Suspect?‘ NYT Sunday Review

About Alton Chapter

The Alton Chapter of Writers' Ink meets the 1st Wednesday of the month from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Alton Branch.

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This entry was posted on April 6, 2015 by in Writing Advice and tagged , , .

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