Posts Tagged ‘James Agee’

A real-world application of literary criticism (and other tangents)

January 1, 2008

This first paragraph is an afterthought, but I now recall why I sat down to write this. I moved a bookshelf from my den to a back room (where I house way too many comics), and am in the process of putting the books back on it. Anyway, every time I do this, I can’t help but think of the process as one of the rare, personal and physical applications of literary criticism. It’s as if each placement of a book – those on low shelves stacked and tucked away, others prominently displayed square in the middle shelf with no regard to genre or title – is a little symbolic essay on the title, or the author; a metaphor for how much the book affected me, or how much I value the book in terms other than monetary. It seems like one of the few times that one can truly apply literary criticism, physically, without words and instead in the real world – a thing which too often feels absent from the literary classroom. It is such a pleasure.