What is literature? For much of western history, the word simply designated “educated writing” or “discourse,” a meaning it still retains. However, since the turn of the nineteenth century, literature has usually meant “imaginative writing,” and some kinds of literature, like the genre of romance, is more, shall we say, “literary” than others, more rooted in imaginative flights of fancy. Our guest is Scott Black, Professor of English literature and chair of the English department at the University of Utah. Professor Black is the author of Without the Novel: Romance and the History of Prose Fiction, published in 2019 by the University of Virginia Press, and it makes the compelling case that literature, especially in its most playful, most unrealistic, most imaginative, most romantic forms is precisely what we need today.
Interview by Matthew Wickman, Founding Director, BYU Humanities Center
Produced and Edited by Brooke Browne and Sam Jacob