Thursday, November 18, 2010

Literary Blog Hop: Literary Non-Fiction

Literary Blog Hop is hosted by The Blue Bookcase. If you features book reviews of literary fiction, classic literature, and general literary discussion, you too can join in!

This week's question is:
Is there such a thing as literary non-fiction? If so, how do you define it? Examples?

I would say yes, for the existence of literary non-fiction. It can broadly defined as creative nonfiction, literary journalism, and of course, the literature of fact. It is that branch of writing which makes use of writing style and creative vision that are connected with with fiction or poetry. That technique is employed to describe or report about actual people, places, or events. I think travelogues, autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, essays fall into the category. I also think scientific books too can be taken as literary non-fiction. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is a true account which reads like a novel. The Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol 1-3 along George Bernard Shaw's essay collection, Naom Chomsky's writings are few examples...

23 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I agree with you!

Ben said...

Great post, G.B Shaw is indeed amazing.

Olivia said...

I have to wonder if there is a distinction between a non-fiction novel (like In Cold Blood) and literary non-fiction? I was thinking more of memoir or essays in my post. I have no answer, just wondering...

Melody said...

I like the distinction you made about writing style and creative vision...a good way to define what separates it from other stuff.

litlove said...

A nice, neat 'yes', then!

Amy said...

I don't read much science, but I have friends who would totally agree with you on that.

Becky (Page Turners) said...

Thats definitely a good way t think of it

IngridLola said...

I like that phrase "literature of fact." I loved In Cold Blood as well.

readerbuzz said...

I read The Canon, a book about the various aspects of science, a while back. It was beautifully written, full of lovely metaphors. So unexpected, finding a literary book about science.

Here's my post on literary nonfiction. I'd love to hear what you think.

And if you have read any wonderful literary books
published in 2010, I urge you to nominate your favorites
for The Independent Literary Awards. The awards
include categories of Literary Fiction and Literary Non-Fiction.
Nominations close December 15.

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I'm sorely missing out by not having read In Cold Blood yet -- I'm a tad ashamed on this! Here's my Literary view...: Coffee and a Book Chick -- Literary Blog Hop...

JoAnn said...

I've decided that I'm partial to literary journalism. Good answer!

mywordlyobsessions said...

I think everyone agrees with Capote's 'In Cold Blood'. It truly is an extraordinary account. Great post.

cheryl@bookaddict4real said...

I like your your take on literary nonfiction thanks for stopping by my
blog man are you busy!

Trish said...

Whenever I think of "Literary non-fiction" I always think of In Cold Blood as well--such a revolutionary book in terms of creative non-fiction.

parrish lantern said...

Naom Chomsky is a fantastic writer & one I had forgotten, thanks for the reminder.
Parrish

Beachreader said...

I think I need to read In Cold Blood soon everyone seems to think that it is a great example of literary non-fiction.

Thank you for sharing your viewpoint.

Heather said...

I mentioned In Cold Blood in my post as well. I guess it comes down to the writer's craft.

Emily said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.
I didn't even think of Truman Capote and the like. That is definitely a good example.

-Emily @ Reading While Female

Jillian said...

I forgot about George Bernard Shaw! I've not read him yet, but I want to. :-)

bibliophiliac said...

After posting my response, I went from blog to blog and was surprised to see how many of us thought of In Cold Blood--very interesting!

susan (Reading World) said...

When I was in med school the pathology text we used was quite literary (IMO). It was filled with anecdotes and personal observations and was very readable as well as informative. The book is revised every few years and we are now several editions down the road. It is less wordy now, has more colorful charts and tables and a different organization. It's more "efficient." But I can't imagine losing myself in the reading of it, soaking it in, the way I did with the text that I was fortunate enough to use. Yes, science can be literary.

Letter4no1 said...

You were able to come up with a lot more examples then I could. I completely agree with you.

Sarah @ Loving Books

thebookstop said...

Your post does a nice job of defining what makes something literary (much more concisely than mine). Good suggestions -- obviously In Cold Blood but Feynman and GB Shaw as well.

Thanks for visiting my blog!