Literature

 

In essence, literature is not a result of research --- itís the result of oneís temperament. This is not to say that research is unnecessary to the writing of literary value of any kind. In fact, many literary works are in the disguise of argumentative essays, laden with research data. For example, in many of her essays, Susan Sontag didnít necessarily try to persuade you as much try to show off her own spirited charater (in Chinese, qi). The result is highly personal writing. Thatís why to some of the contemporary readers, Notes on Camp looks dated and unreadable, while to the others itís still inspiring. Itís not a problem of scientific but a problem of shared taste. There are some cases of questionable research and unique taste, resulting in valuable writings, and there are many more cases of impeccable research but uninteresting authorship. Itís more important for a person of literary inspiration to gain temperament. As it happens, research always helps to achieve the goal, though we may need to be more flexible and original about its definition. In fact, walking in the park or just staying quietly in your cramped room with eyes closed can all be means of research.

 

(12/14/2004)

 

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