Normally I start the mentor of the month thing with a quote, but now I’m going to start with a question. First, let me preface:
I just came across a new book by Francine Prose called Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife. Prose is exporing the idea of Anne Frank’s diary as art, as literature vs. historical record. Because it’s been a long while since I’ve Diary of Young Girl, I’m now reading the ‘Definitive Edition’ along with Prose’s book.
In the first chapter Prose proposes that Anne Frank’s diary isn’t a diary at all–that it’s a memoir in epistolary form. Her argument stems from the knowledge that Anne Frank edited her diary after hearing a call on the radio for diaries, journals, letters, etc. to record Holland’s experience during WWII. Anne even titled her book: The House Behind.
Now my question is this (or rather, questions are these):
1. Is literature only literature if it is intended to be read by others?
2. Is literature only literature if the author/creator edits his/her work to make the work more palatable (i.e. if you edit a piece so that there is cohesion to plot, character, etc.)?
3. Can something that was written for yourself become literature? (By literature I mean that others may critique it against a standard–whatever that standard is….)