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 Quality of novels going down?

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March Hare
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PostSubject: Quality of novels going down?   Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:38 pm

I posted this question in B&A before, but I'm sure LC members have something much more interesting to say.
It seems like the age of literature is over. With the amount of Television people watch, and the amount of action they need seems to indicate that most humans don't seem to care for good literature anymore. The majority of those don't appreciate complex characters, good writing, or anything else that contributes to making a novel worthwhile. This trend does not encourage authors to write about true aspects and real life problems, when all people care about are sparkling vampires. Why should authors spend time and effort developing their characters, when no one wants to read about them? A passage from Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind:

Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca. Books, so the damned snobbish critics said, were dishwater. No wonder books stopped selling, the critics said. But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive. And the three-dimensional sex magazines, of course......Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals."


I was interested in your thoughts. Do you think the age of good literature is over, or dying out? Do you think that I'm completely wrong, or true in my assumption? I won't be able to check this for the next week, but I'll be looking forward to your answers when I get back on.
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PostSubject: Re: Quality of novels going down?   Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:46 pm

I don't think it is over or dying out, but I do think it has become further buried under the masses of garbage thrown out there today. And, this applies not only to literature, but also the writing of tv shows, movies, etc.

I think a lot of it has to do with capitalism. Publishers and producers are ultimately in it to make money, moreso than preserve and evolve quality. Producing great work takes a lot of time and talent, and might go unrecognized by the masses even still. So, it becomes more economically feasable to see if something can be whipped together, thrown against the wall, and see if it sticks. If it doesn't, which most don't, oh well, less of a loss. Because some of the garbage will stick, and it will produce a huge profit, unfortunately.

Further, I think that is why older children - teenagers are one of the most targeted demographics. With less experience, they are more apt to buy into the garbage delivered, as they don't have much else for comparision. Just look at where the music industry has gone (MTV - all targeted towards teens) and movies (Biggest movies are things like Transformers, etc, which appear flashy, but the true story is garbage).

Yah, the bottom line is that true art and genuine quality are harder to find, because they are not as profitable, I think.
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PostSubject: Re: Quality of novels going down?   Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:09 pm

No, no and no. I refuse to believe this. Here are several spontaneous reasons why I think that good novels will not die out:

1. Intelligence is very hard to kill. teacher No matter how much you are immersed in low-level TV, stupid computer games etc., if you are really gifted, you will still be able to write brilliant books.

2. I can name at least two dozen brilliant novels from the last years that were highly successful, and will be remembered and read a long time. Some of them are considered classic already. clap2

3. Sensible parents will not die out. Not a single one of my friends has ever even considered buying their kids a computer before they had a sensible library to begin with. TV is out of range entirely teevee (I know of exactly three programmes I would allow my kids to watch: "Siebenstein", a series about a woman running an antique shop, inventing stories about each item, "Löwenzahn", a sort of scientific magazine for the youngest out there (topics include areas like "How do I deal with wasps?" and "Does every dog bite?"), and possibly "Sesame Street".) They will have little choice but to read. book2

4. Demand for quality literature will continue, since there are a number of new applications and ways of enjoying literature (such as audiobooks, or the Kindle, or even the Nintendo DS). joy

In conclusion, I do not believe that there is any chance of good books dying out. Hooray! bouncy

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PostSubject: Re: Quality of novels going down?   Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:35 am

I knew I'd get some sensible responses. Well, I'm more pessimistic, and if not dying out, the demand for it is definitely going down.
So many Twilight fans are looking forward to sharing those 'special' moments with their children. Agatha Christie is outsold only by The Bible and Shakespeare. (I'm not questioning the quality of her novels or grouping her with Twilight, I'm just pointing out the world's hunger for mysteries)
I just hope that this generation of Twitter and MySpace fans will grow up to appreciate what previous generations have treasured.
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PostSubject: Re: Quality of novels going down?   Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:04 pm

As Laura said, I do not believe good literature will die out, but standards have certainly been lowered over the years, especially in societies where instant gratification has been given preeminence (sadly the US takes the lead here). The novel, in many areas, has gone from a valid literary form, even an artistic expression, to something mass-manufactured for popular entertainment. While this is not always necessarily bad, the culture of non-thinking that seems to naturally come with pop entertainment has taken its toll.

But, there is still plenty of quality material out there. You just have to dig through the trash to find it.

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PostSubject: Re: Quality of novels going down?   Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:50 am

Nolofinwe wrote:
I knew I'd get some sensible responses. Well, I'm more pessimistic, and if not dying out, the demand for it is definitely going down.
So many Twilight fans are looking forward to sharing those 'special' moments with their children. Agatha Christie is outsold only by The Bible and Shakespeare. (I'm not questioning the quality of her novels or grouping her with Twilight, I'm just pointing out the world's hunger for mysteries)
I just hope that this generation of Twitter and MySpace fans will grow up to appreciate what previous generations have treasured.
I know we at LC will pipe

An asylum, a refuge for quality literature! Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled volumes yearning to be dusted! bouncy

Edit. Oh god, I need to stop drinking coffee when I haven't slept well. It makes me cranky.

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PostSubject: Re: Quality of novels going down?   Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:43 pm

Hey, hey, hey! Don't blame cartoons... I've spent seven years of my life growing up in front of a TV and, believe it or not, I learned the better part of my english thanks to Cartoon Network. I iz iznt stoopid!

Actually the good old cartoons inspire a lot of art in kiddos. Same thing goes for PC games... I actually quite enjoy some and every time I play them I think of ways I would improve them...

Anyhow. Qualities have changed. Now cash and fancy clothes matter... You can thank pop and rap music for that. These days everybody is allowed to be an 'artist' and get away with it... I actually think I prefer the discrimination of the good old days. After the publishing of That Word, whaddaya expect? 'Course everybody thinks they can be a writer when Smeyer is their set goal!

I wish I were born fifteen years earlier, I swear to Hell...

Being a teenager automatically makes you stoopid and I don't blame people for thinking that...

But the human kind is known for its cultural downfalls... In about ten years all should be well, never fret! Or a hundred... Razz

Though good literature can't die out... There's always a group of people that read (or listen to somebody recite said reading like an excerpt from the Bible *coughmyexclassmatescough*) and think that its pure crap.

Even though I would probably be a very weird mother... I know I ain't letting my kind watch today's CartoonNetwork or even think about thinking about considering about thinking of touching That Word.

Edit: By the way... This isn't only children's fault, it's parents too. For crap's sake, I've read notes 'mrs [insertnamehere], excuze my girl's absince, she had diarya.' I call today's teenagers a post cultural lag... Or something. We're the effect of an unsolved problem.
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