Arnon Grunberg



Eric Schliesser wrote a blog post on the question whether philosophers need a professional code of ethics. (Read it here.)
I was struck by a side remark on literature: “Philosophy is different from law (where very bad human beings and acts deserve the very best arguments on their behalf in order to make a potentially moral institution function properly) or literature (where the art may be diminished if -- to speak poetically -- Satan is not given airtime.”

How much airtime does Satan actually need in a novel? But above all, if we allow Satan to have his say in the novel (or the poem) for the sake of literature (or for the sake of beauty) then this might prove once again that we consider literature a frivolous pastime.
We allow Satan to speak freely in the novel, because we assume that nobody will pay serious attention. And we trust that if somebody is paying serious attention to the art of the novel this must be a so-called expert who is by definition immune to the sirens of Satan. The layman might be seduced by the Great Seducer – the expert finds nothing but rhetoric and literary technique. It’s hard to distinguish between his immunity and his expertise.