Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Discomfort of Oversimplifying

It's only fair that I pull up Susan Hill's comment on my last post, pointing out that my final reference to her concept of 'comfort-blanket' books misrepresented and oversimplified:

The two things are not incompatible.. Comfort blanket books can be great literature at the same time. Or not. A comfort blanket book is, by definition, one which you have read before enough times to know very well and to be guaranteed delight, pleasure, interest, even intellectual stimulation - it has nothing to do with being lulled to sleep. It has everything to do with the certain expectation of reward. I do not mean, by 'comfort blanket books' ones which are necesssarily easy to read or have happy endings or are undemanding.. I do mean those which I return to knowing that although I may get something new out of them, I will also get a repeat of something old - in the best sense - too.

2 comments:

Ms Baroque said...

One of my main comfort blanket books for years was Vanity Fair. I also love, for this purpose, I Capture the Castle, Fanny Burney's diaries, Persuasion, the Faber Book of Sonnets, and almost anything by Henry Green.

Susan Hill said...

Thank you