Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Three Levels of Conversation

It's been said there are three levels of conversation, from low to high. How do they affect literature?

1.) THINGS. Simple people talk about things. (Usually what they own or want to own.) In writing, describing the furniture. Literary writers love to write about furniture.

2.) PEOPLE. Gossip is part of human nature. Even some very good novels contain what is in effect gossip. Our interest in character-- think Jay Gatsby-- is gossip.

3.) IDEAS. The most ambitious writers address ideas. Few have done it well, but when it's done well it's a high literary achievement.

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