Sometimes I think that the problem with reading is a problem with its plausibility.
Here is a passage from Northrop Frye’s theory of modes: (P 51)
“We note in passing that imitation of nature in fiction produces, not truth or reality, but plausibility, and plausibility varies in weight from a mere perfunctory concession in a myth or folk tale to a kind of censor principle in a naturalistic novel.”
The move of literature towards naturalism, or more importantly, away from mythology is not only an aesthetic preference. It coincides with rise of objectivity, utility, and pragmatism in which these values are extended to spheres of knowledge that seemed at one time to repel such thinking. The “censor” Frye was talking about which used to limit itself to the plausibility of the plot of a work of fiction, now extends also to the theme of the work. Readers are not only want to derive the meaning of a text in the quickest possible way, but also demand that its theme attached to the meaning be useful out side the realm of literary pleasure.
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