Thursday, 18 March 2010

Sex and Death know no bounds

I’ve been questioning Italo Calvino’s statement that ‘in the boundless universe of literature there are always new avenues to be explored’. I once was told that all literature boils down to sex and death, and this was the case all the more in Victorian literature, as these two themes were somewhat obsessions. Therefore if all literature no matter what genre encapsulates both sex and death, is the literature universe boundless?
I suppose in order to answer this question the ways in which these ‘avenues’ are ‘explored’ need to be looked at more closely. When I think about books I’ve enjoyed, even polar opposite genres, for example Romance and Crime I can’t help but draw out the same two themes. P.S I Love You, Cecelia Ahern’s novel is Romantic fiction but the book is centered around the death of the main character’s husband, and the Dr Kay Scarpetta novels by Patricia Cornwell are weighted with sexual tension between Marino and Kay Scarpetta, the two lead characters, as well as being full of grotesque deaths. However if I wasn’t looking closely at these two author’s works with my theory in mind, I would have never noticed, and definitely wouldn’t have found the themes at all predictable. Therefore I’ve come to the conclusion that the ‘avenues’ aren’t different in literature, but the ways they’re explored and written about are, keeping that universe indeed, boundless.

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