Monday, November 18, 2013

Words for Writing

From a book about a movie:

"'Satire' is the technical word for writing about people as they are. 'Romantic' at the other extreme is writing about people as they are to themselves. Both of these terms are true and mean something, and Lubitsch combined them in most of his films. Only 'Naturalism' is a completely vague term, and Lubitsch had no truck with it."

The author, Peter Barnes, is playing off Aristotle's contrast between comedy and tragedy: “Comedy aims at representing men as worse, Tragedy as better than in actual life.”

He recommends that writers and directors avoid the "deadly language of journalism".

If satire
is truth entire,
the naturalists are left
with nothing of heft.

I think it's kind of funny, because in my play-writing I mostly try to adhere to a kind of formal realism, by which I mean that the events and language, examined piece by piece, all seem plausible. But the whole, because it's more dense and intense than real life, seems suffused with a "romantic" atmosphere.

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