Or, How I Prepared New Maps of Hell and Other Exotic Territories
by Gary Westfahl
...Science fiction and fantasy are forms of literature which are about something. On the most basic level, their stories are about places ranging from Arcadia and Mountains to Mars and Space Habitats; about characters like Adam and Eve, Mad Scientists, and Vampires; about objects like Rings, Toys, and Weaponry. More broadly, their stories are about disciplines like Advertising, Anthropology, and Medicine; about human relationships like Friendship, Love, and Marriage; about abstract concepts like Courage, Intelligence, and Progress. This seemingly obvious assertion is necessary because critics who focus on other forms of literature increasingly claim that the texts they study are, in fact, primarily about literature itself — about language, about the profession of writing, about other works of literature. Thus, if you tell modern Shakespeare scholars that the Henry IV plays are designed to convey William Shakespeare's thoughts on governance and the art of leadership, you will be laughed at for your naiveté - because all the smart critics long ago realized that they really represent Shakespeare's meditations on the powers and limitations of language. As another example of this trend, a Stanley Corngold essay about Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis argues that Gregor Samsa's mysterious transformation into a cockroach centrally reflected Kafka's uncertainties regarding the use of metaphor, as well as the anguish of being an author with writer's block. Admittedly, Corngold assembles an impressive array of textual and extratextual evidence to buttress his position, but anyone who has read and appreciated Kafka's astounding story must be appalled by this interpretation. The Metamorphosis has not stunned and moved generations of readers because it so brilliantly explores the nature of metaphors, and one criminally trivializes the text by identifying its major message as "it's hard to be a writer." What is worse, moreover, is that some contemporary novelists, increasingly aware that literary critics represent their most attentive and vocal readers, are responding to this attitude by producing literature that manifestly is primarily about literature - emphasizing elaborate wordplay, convoluted storytelling devices, and knowing references to the act of writing and to other texts.
Thankfully, science fiction and fantasy critics have not fallen victim to this interpretative tendency, and thankfully, science fiction and fantasy writers have generally declined to produce texts that invite such interpretations.
Вывод, к сожалению, ошибочен. А как интерпретируют Джина Вулфа? А как сам себя интерпретирует Краули - заведомо упрощая смыслы своих книг? А сколько раз встречалось противопоставление writer vs story-teller - применительно к Толкину, Ричарду Адамсу, да мало ли кому? Какой культурный слом необходим для того, чтобы рассказывание историй снова обрело высокий статус? Риторический вопрос. (Пример: Набоков велик не только как стилист, но и как рассказчик, однако же... "Рабинович! Вы интриган! - Да, но кто это ценит?")