Monday, 2 July 2007

Picture paints thousand words shock

This book has just won a literary prize. So what? So it doesn't actually contain any words, that's so what.

All right, it tells a story, which is what lots of literary works do -- but not all. But it's not using words, is it? So it's not literature. It's art. It's painting or drawing or whatever that is.

John Baker in his blog quotes an article in the Brisbane Times in which the artist, Shaun Tan, claims that since poetry uses fewer words than a novel, yet is still literature, then his work, which uses none at all, can occupy the same continuum. Which is just stupid.

The link up there leads to a free sample of the first eight pages or so. And then there's the author's explanation of what it's all about, which uses up all the words the book didn't. What a yakfest.

So what's your view? Words -- necessary, useful or a bit of a bother? All comments, including those in the form of stick-figures, welcome.