Had a great debate today around one of the themes I love the most and it was like revisiting something happened a year ago:
This one is from an interesting discussion on a forum on why some greats like Chinua Achebe are not likely to get awarded a Literature Nobel attributing it to the factors like thematic and artistic greatness of a literary work. I thought to share my views here:
I don't find me apt to comment on works of such greats. I so love Achebe and for me his magnum opus is beyond any word. I cannot say much about relevance here as Nobel is becoming more and more politicized and certainly there are many figures a Nobel must be desirous to go to like the most famous omission - Mahatma Gandhi. But, indeed, the theme is good, for it is going to enrich if pursued.
Personally, about literary skills and greatness of a work, I consider it secondary. The primary thing is reflection of relevance that a work intended to express, that it intended to connect, that it intended to propagate, if any, or just for pure joy of engaging a reader. Many great Indian scholars (and many others elsewhere) were illiterate or men of common attributes in terms of 'literary skills'. Yes, literary skills do enhance the pleasure of reading but at the same time, these must not be set as benchmarks, especially in case of works with mass followings like 'Things Fall Apart'.
These are the debates we love to debate and it is not just with art, it is with every part of the life that comes within purview of our conscience. Sooner or later, a conscious mind is going to question 'what everything is supposed to be'. And the first critic that we get for us is our very own souls. Yes, the proposition is enhanced when it comes to the application of enlightened mental faculties like the one we apply during a creative endevour writing is. 'Art for art’s sake' has its own relevance and 'art for sake things beyond art' has its own. What we need to see the perennial debate has always given us a synthesis. And at the level of appreciation, any art has very subjective and individualistic prospects. We all enjoy an artwork, we find themes, and we modify themes, in order to contextualize the experience. These are two very different worlds hinging on a same point-the world of the reader, the world of the writer of the book, and the common point-the literary work.
We need to understand the power of simplicity. We need to understand the art of simplicity. Any artwork with millions of followers shows one thing - all those millions could find some relevant themes in the words there - the simple fundamental of appreciation amplification to the level of mass following. Application of literary skills to the themes raises this level to the cult following when we read an artwork more in the thoughts.
There are award winning works. There are works winning masses. There are works winning masses as well as awards. And though the line cannot be so properly demarcated, there are inherent limitations of each, and that is part of another debate. You know it’s always like this - art and proponents - they mutually influence each other.
The age-long debate between the conservative and the progressive modernists on use of art is a perennial one with the rounds doing the rounds circumnavigating the contexts.