Can Literature Survive Without Spirituality?

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by Carcano, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Recently I was watching a video about Stanley Kubrick's rather abrupt statement to Stephen King on literature:

    "All stories about the supernatural are inherently optimistic."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x98qcNZ8Fz0

    And it got me thinking if great literature is even possible without at least the suggestion of a spiritual dimension???

    By 'spiritual' I mean primarily a sense of CONTINUITY...that consciousness and consequences extend beyond the life of the body...that thought and emotion extend beyond the brain.
     
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  3. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    That continuity can exist in a purely material form. It's the only reason why you are familiar with Shakespeare long after his death. Great literature is a reflection of the human experience, which, however irrational it may be, contains religious and spiritual notions. The supernatural can provide great plots, unrestrained by realism. A work of art that promotes belief in the supernatural can be considered overly optimistic, I agree. But it's all in good fun.
     
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  5. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Material form has no continuity.

    Would Shakespeare have been able to write without the underlying sense of continuity that makes literature meaningful?
     
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  7. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Spirituality is the rice...not the spice.
     
  8. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    But what is it that makes them "great" if the supernatural is a false idea?
     
  9. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    I just watched the video where Kubrick had said to king that supernatural stories, ghost stories, horror stories are optimistic because they suggest you can survive death. I don't think can be claimed as true for all literature but the question of 'spirituality' or beyond death isn't present in many works, I am thinking for example of Anna Kavan's 'Ice' its an amazing novel about the beginning of another Ice age and though it doesn't suggest the end of 'the world' it does suggest the end of man. Somewhat surrealistic and quite chilling, it literally seeps into a reader but the feeling it leaves has no optimism nor suggestion of survival, rather its the realization of the end of the characters and the end of EVERYONE. Its one of her best novels.

    Since most novels do not end with finite themes there is always the suggestion of continuity. Take Proust and his great work and though its a revival of memory the suggestion is that the past can be 'revived' if not re-lived.

    In supernatural stories, vampires and the like, often survive in some form but that is the nature of novels dealing with the supernatural. Kubrick I think was being more facetious than making a observation of fact pertaining to 'the positive'.

    I don't think that we relate to novels specifically because we have a sense of life's continuity as far as 'after life'.
     
  10. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    And how do the characters respond to this 'end of everyone' scenario?

    As if its meaningless?

    As if the stars will twinkle just as cheerfully without mankind to gaze upon them?
     
  11. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    What other kinds of continuity are there???
     
  12. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    How do you mean?
     
  13. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    Well one character is female and is somewhat oblivious in a childlike way or in denial if you will, she is the 'strange' character in the story and seems somewhat without 'will'. The male character rides away with her in a protected vehicle offering her the last of the chocolate but he has a hand gun at his side with two bulllets in it.
     
  14. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Do you not know of any other kinds?
     
  15. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Perhaps this is exactly how mankind will respond to an 'end of everyone' scenario...as a quest for the last of the chocolate!

    But I doubt it.

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  16. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    Hmmm, lets see well there is Karen Finley's Shock Treatment. Although it doesn't deal with an end of all life scenerio it does take a look at what she deemed the loss of humanity in modern urban american society starting with the loss of humanity in the lives of men. Its kind of a stream of consciousness text that highlights all that is miserable and lost in modern existence, it deals with loss of essentials.

    When you finish reading a novel there are only two outcomes, the protagonist lives or dies, he succeeds or fails. The notion that life exists after the character or when you close the book is really quite irrelevant. When you read Mrs. Dalloway the fact that there are other families quite happy around her or in her neighborhood doesn't leave us with any comfort because we are focused on her life.

    In Madam Bovary and Anne Karenina the fact that other women survive isn't essential to the novel because there is no tomorrow for the characters, its a tragedy and their lives are done. Same thing with Hamlet, it all ends in tears so to speak, the fact that there are peasants outside of court selling vegetables and tilling the toil and going about their business doesn't mean anything because Hamlet is dead and gone and the rest of the characters lives with him
     
  17. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    Well that is not how the scene is worked. I mean she doesn't have 'mankind' looking for chocolate. She has one man trying to distract and amuse one woman from what is an unstoppable devastation. He is aware of what is happening, she simply relies on him.

    All literature deals with elements of mans existence but not all of literature takes on a 'spiritual' dimension. Look at Knut Hamsun's 'Hunger' not for a moment does it deal with death or god or afterlife, it deals solely with an individuals struggle to survive.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  18. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Beyond the north, ice and death.
    Our life, our happiness.
    We have discovered happiness.
    We know the way.
    We have found the exit.
    Out of the labyrinth of a thousand years.
    Who else has found it.
    Modern man perhaps?
    I am lost.
    I am everything that is lost.
    Sighs modern man.

    -Nietzsche.
     
  19. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Survive for what though?

    So the characters can eat more chocolate?
     
  20. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    And what are the essentials...aside from chocolate?
     
  21. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    She doesn't suggest that the characters will survive. She suggests that there was an attempt at survival and now it is drawing to a close. We know that he is going to shoot her and himself in a relatively short period of time. The chocolate has no other symbolism than that of the woman's last taste of what had been a simple pleasure produced by civilization.
     
  22. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

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    Different book, that was referring to Finley's Shock Treatment. The essentials were psychological health, life with dignity.
     
  23. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    I'm also using chocolate as symbolism.
     

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