I have noticed some discussion recently in the literary blogs about that old chestnut: literature (or 'writing' as it is now more fashionable to call it) and Life (which always seems to deserve a special initial capital all of its own). The sentimentalists say that literature must be subordinate to Life (aka 'the real world') and the flinty highbrows say that Literature (with an initial capital to retaliate) is sufficient unto itself. It doesn't have to justify itself by being seen to be 'realistic'. It doesn't have to be 'about' anything except itself and its own processes.
I am saying nothing, but here are three quotations:-
1. James Joyce, Stephen Hero: "But that is wrong: that is the mistake everyone makes. Art is not an escape from life."
2. Same guy, same place: "For Stephen art was neither a copy nor an imitation of nature: the artistic process was a natural process."
3. Virginia Woolf, Essays: "Why should the final test of plot, character, story, and the other ingredients of a novel lie in their power to imitate life? Why should a real chair be better than an imaginary elephant?"