In 1966, The Paris Review Interviewed my favourite 20th Century Playwright Arthur Miller.
Arthur Miller had the following to say about the myth of apolitical literature and the foolishness of the modern attempts to gloss over the literary subject as divorced from the polis or his/her political existence.
Q: Yet so much of the theater these last few years has had nothing to do with public life.
Miller: “Yes, it’s got so we’ve lost the technique of grappling with the world that Homer had, that Aeschylus had, that Euripides had. And Shakespeare. How amazing it is that people who adore the Greek drama fail to see that these great works are works of a man confronting his society, the illusions of the society, the faiths of the society. They’re social documents, not little piddling private conversations. We just got educated into thinking this is all ‘a story,’ a myth for its own sake.”
-The Paris Review, pg. 25
To borrow the magnificent words of Neo-Gramscian writer Robert Cox, it is necessarily “always for someone and for some purpose’.
To me, Miller’s struggle against apolitical literature dovetails almost perfectly with what I wrote the other week in the context of apolitical non-news stories in the post entitled “How ‘non-news’ news stories reinforce the status quo”.