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r/literature
r/literature
252
Posted by2 months ago

"Reading and writing train our people for logic, grace and precision of thought, and begin a lifelong study of the exceptional in human existence. I think literature is the history of the soul. Writing should be a journey into worthy perception." Barry Hannah

Been getting into Hannah, reading his story collection, Long, Last, Happy. Been doing more reading on him, his techniques and ideas, and thought the sub might appreciate this quote - especially the person that recently posted questioning the value of a degree in Literature. Thoughts on the idea in the quote, or on Hannah and his work?

EDIT: link to the interview from which this quote comes. https://web.archive.org/web/20100307065624/http://www.oxfordamerican.org/articles/2010/mar/02/barry-hannah-19422010/

18 comments
99% Upvoted
level 1
· 2 mo. ago · edited 2 mo. ago

I can only speak for myself, but with all these literature classes and essays my writing and communication got a million times better. I now mostly do Excel data and write up projects/instructions through online software. I communicate through emails, and teams chat, but I feel super competent in getting my point across and getting what needs to be done in any given scenario despite mostly studying completely different kinds of reading and writing. I also feel more comfortable in new situations and places I have to figure things out and am a more open-minded person.

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level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago

I also feel more comfortable in new situations and places I have to figure things out and am a more open-minded person.

I think this is key. I said in the other thread that I think the humanities and arts teach us critical and creative thinking, which are the most needed skills for the jobs of the future (or even of the present).

11
level 1
Op · 2 mo. ago · edited 2 mo. ago

Btw I am reading this article on Hannah's style and technique with much interest. EDIT: fixed the link I hope

5
level 1

That’s beautiful

3
level 1

What beautiful words

3
level 1
Cake day · 2 mo. ago

Thanks for mentioning Hannah, I've been meaning to get into him. The only thing I've read is the late '70s story "Testimony of Pilot." I remember an awareness of being manipulated into really disliking the characters and getting pulled along to skepticism towards their various lukewarm redemptions, and eventually slipping from there into just not liking the story itself. Then I got to the end like, holy cow, I was wrong to have doubted you. The ground this thing covers- Hannah's in a different class from Alice Munro but the story operates on the scale of a full-length novel, and you barely even notice while it's happening.

I can't seem to get at the article you're reading. Possibly a VPN issue, but I can see the name of the link. The "among mutinous helium bursts around Saturn" line is from this same story, along with:

"Sounded like a duck. Sounded like a girl duck."
and "Man, we've got teenagers in ruin here. We got sorrowville."

3
level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago

Shoot, let me fix the link. It's this one: https://web.archive.org/web/20100327203909/http://www.oxfordamerican.org/articles/2009/sep/01/among-mutinous-helium-bursts-around-saturn-barry-h/

Have to use that Wayback Machine link. I think you will dig it.

Not all of Hannah's stories resonate with me, but even when they don't I just love his use of language, his style. That's what the essay above is about and I think you'll appreciate the point it is making.

3
level 1

I once read and article about how literature helps develop empathic tendencies, which has always stuck with me. Impossible to prove, but it makes sense to me.

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[deleted]
· 2 mo. ago

Tbh I am really put off my any argument for literature being premised on the soul or the human. It feels really gross to me. Literature is more than just a study of these empty sentimentalized concepts. IMHO

-2
level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago

Interesting! Will you say more? Did you mean soul or the human or soul OF the human?

1

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Welcome to /r/literature, a community for deeper discussions of plays, poetry, short stories, and novels. Discussions of literary criticism, literary history, literary theory, and critical theory are also welcome. Book recommendations and homework help are off topic for this subreddit.
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