How ‘Literature’ Helps Destroy Reading

I read this post recently, talking about how the improper teaching of literature has contributed to the death of its study.  The main argument seemed to be that it is important to emphasize literature as a way of developing empathy (putting yourself in a character’s shoes) over emphasizing it as a snapshot of its historical period.  To help make the point they brought up the example of someone reading Huckleberry Finn and deciding the entire point of the book was ‘slavery is wrong’.

While the idea they presented (that there are two main schools of presenting literature) is fine on its face, I speak from experience when I say it is probably not what kills people’s interest in literature.  Let us turn to one of the several definitions of ‘literary’ on dictionary.com for a solid description of what I consider to be the biggest problem here: “characterized by an excessive or affected display of learning; stilted; pedantic.” Continue reading