Originally Posted by FlorenceArt
Oh, I know what you mean! I remember people telling me years ago that to enjoy the movie 2001, I had to read the book. At the time I thought, that's really stupid, if a movie can't stand up on its own, it's not worth watching, I don't need a goddamn user manual.
But I did not understand at the time just how misguided this comment was. Understanding a work has very little to do with enjoying it. Except maybe when the subject of the work is knowledge, i.e. in the case of non fiction.
At the time I saw 2001, I was seeing a lot of movies, some of them I understood nothing about. The movie that comes to my mind is Stalker
, by Andrei Tarkovski. I have no idea what that movie was about, and I didn't even when I saw it, but I still loved it.
On the other hand, there is nothing that annoys me more, at least in fiction, than a book that lays out everything clearly before me, taking care to leave nothing to my interpretation or imagination. This kind of book is perfectly understandable, and very bad literature. Because literature, and any kind of art, requires two people, a writer and a reader, an artist and a spectator, and the spectator cannot be passive, he has to put some of his own life into the work, otherwise it will stay a dead thing: a bunch of printed pages, or a canvas with some color on it. There has to be some room for the reader/spectator to breathe, to invent the work.
Neil Gaiman kind of used a short story to explain this. I think it was in Fragile Things
but I can't remember the title of the story itself and I am not home among my DTbooks, so I can't access it at this moment.
Anyway, it was about an Emperor who kept making a bigger and bigger map/model of his empire, until he threatened to make one that was a complete, full-scale replica and bankrupt the Empire, at which point his advisor quietly poisons him. The map is not the territory.