Friday, November 19, 2010

Literary Blog Hop – Thoughts on Literary Non-Fiction

Literary Blog Hop

I absolutely believe in Literary Non-Fiction. I do like most of the definition given to us by Connie at the Blue Bookcase. Self-help, how-to and recipe books are not literary. I would hesitate to discount all histories though. I think it would depend on how they are written. Textbooks would not be literary, but perhaps a book that describes the story of a land or a people. Karen Armstrong’s A Short History of Myth I think falls into this category.

In the category of Literary Non-Fiction would include Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. I don’t think I would even consider that work not literary. I’ve also been reading The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys. It’s what I would consider creative non-fiction and I believe that it’s literary. I’ve often thought of different philosophical works as literary as well, such as Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy or Plato’s Meno. I think there can be different genres of non-fiction, just as there are different genres of fiction.

What are your favourite works of Literary Non-Fiction?


  1. I have to check those..!!

    Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!

  2. I didn't think about philosophy, but you're so right in pointing that out.

  3. The Frozen Thames looks very interesting. One of the Amazon reviews said there was too much poetic prose...sounds good to me. :)

  4. OMG, now you got me thinking, robert graves -Greek myths, Herodotus- histories, nietszche- any. This list has no ending.

  5. Hmm ... interesting. Personally, I wouldn't consider philosophy to be literary at all. For the most part, or at least according to my experience with it, philosophers are only concerned with explaining concept in a clear, straightforward way. There's not much "underneath the surface," so to speak, which is a primary feature of "literary" work.
    Thanks for the thought provoking post!

  6. I don't read philosophy, but would agree that Armstrong's books are literary. Will look into The Frozen Thames... sounds interesting.

  7. I like how you named older works of nonfiction; I focused on contemporary works.

    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.