Tuesday, September 27, 2005

No Wonder There's So Much Confusion About The DaVinci Code!

According to USA Today, M. Scott Peck (R.I.P.), was a novelist!:

'Road Less Traveled' author dies at 69
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Author M. Scott Peck, who wrote the best-seller The Road Less Traveled and other novels, has died. He was 69.

Shouldn't a USA Today or Associated Press reporter know the difference between a novel and a work of non-fiction?

And what does this say about this person's "journalism"?


Blogger Joe said...

The noun "novel" seems to have become subject to an unfortunate linguistic drift over the past couple years. I've noticed that more than a few of my contemporaries now use the term "novel" not simply to describe works of fiction but in reference to narrative non-fiction works - e.g., biographies and histories - or to any kind of book. I've mostly encountered this in casual conversation, but the fact the usage is now appearing in the print media makes me wonder if a larger linguistic shift is underway.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...

As a student of literature, especially interested in the genre known as the novel, this is not a "linguistic drift" that I'm willing to accept! Novel is not a term that is meant to apply generally to any extended written work.

The "great American novel," for example, is something that is meant to be an elusive achievement, not just something anybody who has the time to put words on paper can write!

If I sound like a snob, so be it. Some things must be preserved.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Mark -
My comments on the changing use of "novel" were purely descriptive. I agree with your point, and I think we should both do what little we can to nip this phenomenon in the bud.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...


I, of course, presumed that you were being merely descriptive and never entertained for a moment the thought that you would bow to the tyranny of "linguistic drift." So, no worries about that! Should we start a campaign against linguistic drift? (It would serve as a nice distraction from reading Rahner!)

While we're at it, should we point out to the folks at Blogger that what they call "word verification" would perhaps more accurately be described as "random collections of letters verification"?

I know, it doesn't quite have the same ring to it.


3:32 PM  
Anonymous Christine said...

Sorry, Mark... a campaign agains linguistic drift would be futile. Language changes. As a future, and likely present, preacher, you should, of course, be aware of that... I trust you are. Being linguistically inclined myself, I sympathize with your concern. But like St. Dominic, I'm looking to find the language that reaches the people. Whatever that is. The Gospel is the thing, not the prescriptive terminology, don't you think? Okay, that was a bit of a rant... hope you take it in the humor it's intended...meaning, good humor.

6:00 PM  
Blogger angelmeg said...

What is frightening is that in future generations will they be able to tell which are "novels" or works of fiction and which are non-fiction.

My least favorite new term is fact-based novelization. I have actually seen it a few times on the back of books of "historical fiction" another term I really don't like.

The line between history and make believe is becoming so blurred that in the future no one will be able to tell the difference.

As to the word verification, it reminds me of a typing assignment from 9th grade typing class. I can actually hear my teacher's voice calling out the letters as I type them. I find it quite fun.


11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a recent graduate with a degree in English (with a focus on Literature), I am intrigued by this whole debate. I find it most interesting because for much of history there were no novels - any text was assumed as fact - which, when combined with the strong literary/narrative bent that these texts have, for many (20th )21st century folks, it's difficult to distinguish the two.
Now I really wish I were still at college - the British novel class would most likely have given me much more to say here - and would have been really fun - and the prof rocks!
Just like you, I love novels (but I also love just about any type of written work (give me something to read, and I'll read it - and probably enjoy it), and am uneasy with this new trend.
Have a marvelous day!
Be Well, God Bless, and Vacare Deum!

3:12 AM  

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