Politics and literature

Should literature tackle political issues? France’s prestigious literary prize awarded for Alexis Jenni’s book makes it a resounding – Yes.

“It’s important to exorcise the unpleasant parts of history through literature, and not through political discourse, which doesn’t help at all. Thanks to fiction, we can probe deep into these problems and touch people’s consciences and hearts.”

“It’s often said that literature has no place treating politics; that writers compromise fiction’s true potential as art when they turn their attentions to the big affairs of the day. Isn’t it more likely, though, that a bad book is a bad book, whether it’s an anti-war novel, a political thriller or chick-lit? Done right, politicised fiction soars, as Jenni’s achievement shows.” From: http://mhpbooks.com/42574/the-goncourt-prize-should-fiction-and-politics-mix/

Or, as Stendhal put it: “Politics in a work of literature is like a gunshot at a symphony, it adds an element of thugness and simplicity, and yet we cannot ignore it. Although for many reasons we would prefer to remain silent about some of the subjects discussed herein, unfortunately we must talk about these nasty things.”

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