Mysteries and literature
In today’s NY Times, Charles McGrath has a column about the relationship between genre writing and “literature,” the former being considered very rarely to aspire to or to reach the quality of the latter. Double-standards? Snobbishness? P.D. James is mentioned as one writer whose mysteries might be thought “to transcend the genre,” as I think the obligatory comment goes. In a recent issue of The Tablet, Ms. James has a lovely tribute to Dorothy Sayers (subscription required), who wrote mysteries but also attempted a verse-translation of Dante and published some works of Christian apologetics, too. Ms. James quotes from an amusing satirical piece that Sayers wrote to illustrate the low state of Anglican catechesis. It might apply to RC’s today, too.
Any candidates for genre-transcending authors?
Should we care if it’s “literature” or not?