08 February 2008


These are theoretical words. If you wish to use one, you had better understand what it is that you wish to succeed in doing by using it. Say you want to analyse a fiction, and your goal is to succeed in understanding of why it is that someone in the text did such-and-so. The answer might plausibly be that he or she had a certain character. But what if we abandon this value -- the idea that we might explain such-and-so with respect to some static property that person has? It would seem that the utility of the theoretical expression would vanish altogether. We may as well abandon the tool.

I get the sense that nearly every writer takes these words to pick out static literary kinds. I suggest we abandon them in conceptualising literary work, and see how far we can go.