From this week on, I have decided to hop on the Literary Blog Hop (and hopefully my participation will be regular).
The Literary Blog Hop is a weekly event held at The Blue Bookcase prompting book bloggers to answer a question.
Is there such a thing as literary non-fiction?
I believe there is. Of course, it all depends on what you mean by literary since, in my opinion, literary is related to literature and what we consider as literature is subjective. However, I will not enter in these considerations since this is another debate.
I would say that literary non-fiction is a factual narrative written in a researched style. Many non-fictions are narratives; they are not just reflections of events but undergo a process of narrativisation in which the writer organises events or ideas in a certain way in order to create meaning. In order for these narratives to be literary, they must also display aesthetic characteristics and be more that just a report. The style should be refined, display techniques pertaining to literature and the language should be elegant.
The first examples coming to mind are Virginia Woolf’s non-fiction (A Room of One’s Own, in particular) and most non-fiction written by Margaret Atwood. Criticism is often literary as critics move beyond the simple analysis and create works that are art in themselves. Biographies and autobiographies, as well as historical narratives, would also often aimed at being literary, whether they manage in another question.
I could probably find more examples and keep discussing this topic, but it is getting late and my bed is calling me. I have spent more time answering this question than I thought I would; this is a good sign showing that it has made me think. It has been an enjoyable experience altogether; I will come back!