Normally I start the mentor of the month thing with a quote, but now I’m going to start with a question. First, let me preface:
I just came across a new book by Francine Prose called Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife. Prose is exporing the idea of Anne Frank’s diary as art, as literature vs. historical record. Because it’s been a long while since I’ve Diary of Young Girl, I’m now reading the ‘Definitive Edition’ along with Prose’s book.
In the first chapter Prose proposes that Anne Frank’s diary isn’t a diary at all–that it’s a memoir in epistolary form. Her argument stems from the knowledge that Anne Frank edited her diary after hearing a call on the radio for diaries, journals, letters, etc. to record Holland’s experience during WWII. Anne even titled her book: The House Behind.
Now my question is this (or rather, questions are these):
1. Is literature only literature if it is intended to be read by others?
2. Is literature only literature if the author/creator edits his/her work to make the work more palatable (i.e. if you edit a piece so that there is cohesion to plot, character, etc.)?
3. Can something that was written for yourself become literature? (By literature I mean that others may critique it against a standard–whatever that standard is….)
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.