Waiting for the Next Cultural Bus?

Fiction Writers Review » Blog Archive » Taboo book words: Readable and Plot?.

The link above references an article about whether or not the book business’s emphasis on readability and plot keeps fine literary work out of the public eye.

My thought, on about two seconds’ reflection: sure it does. What’s popular always crowds out what’s more artistically refined or ambitious.

On the other hand, fashions change. Maybe in today’s climate Kafka wouldn’t have a prayer of publication, but who knows what the case may be 50 years from now? Melville was ignored for years until people’s perceptions changed enough to recognize his genius.

Luckily, we have literary awards helping ensure that soulful, soaring, lyrical writing gets at least some exposure.

So, in regards to the finest in lit, are we sunk or do we just have to wait for the next cultural bus to come by? Your comments are welcome.

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6 Replies to “Waiting for the Next Cultural Bus?”

  1. Thanks for the link! I hadn’t thought about awards as a way to counter the emphasis on plot and readability, but in fact, that might be one of their most important functions.

    Maybe one benefit of the huge proliferation of books out there is the sheer volume and diversity of work being created–and preserved–until they come into fashion. In 50 years, will readers find a hidden gem that was overshadowed by the more “readable” works today?

    1. Hi, Celeste. The piece was well worth linking to. Isn’t there a quote that goes something like, “of making books, there is no end”? Anyway, I hope the gems will be unearthed one day. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I think that there is no dichotomy between “good” literature and “popular” literature, good writers can be both, hacks can be neither. Of course keep in mind Isaac Asimov’s quote that could apply to writing;

    “A subtle thought that is in error may yet give rise to fruitful inquiry that can establish truths of great value.”

    1. My friend, you are so right! I like that quote, too. For my own purposes, I’d paraphrase it as something like “today’s lousy writing may yet give rise to something halfway decent later on.” Thanks for the comment!

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