The "Generous" Future of Literature?

cr88's picture

Last week, Professor Grobstein posed the question of whether "Generosity" represented the future of literature, something most of the class seemed to disagree with. Most people seemed to dislike "Generosity" because it was not a novel one could easily immerse oneself in, given the flatness of the characters, the fragmented narrative, and the intrusive metaliterary narrator, in other words any trait which rendered the novel anything other than stimulating entertainment to be passively consumed. I would argue that novels such as "Generosity" represent not the future but the past of the novel, a past in which literature was an art form that celebrated individual expression rather than a trade to be plied for the entertainment of the masses. In the age of Twitter and Facebook, it seems we do not have the patience for stories unless they are conveyed directly, without adornment, and preferably in less than 140 characters.

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rachelr's picture

Past, present, neither?

 I think this is really interesting… I hadn't thought about the seeming need to cater to what suddenly becomes popular in the literary world. The Twilight series is published, becomes a hit, and suddenly all young adult literature is about vampires; Oprah goes on a "non-fiction" spree, features A Million Little Pieces, and suddenly everyone has a tragic recovery story ending in success to publish. It worked once for someone else? Well then naturally I can replicate such success for myself!!! Annnnnnd then the world of literature ends up carbon copies of essentially the same story, just with a different author's name on the cover and spine. 

I don't know if I would agree that it is the past though either. Perhaps, in the sense of individualism and creativity for the sake of one's self and not to please the masses. But for me the past of literature has a certain "classic" feel to it (but then the issue of well, what is classic? comes into the discussion and I don't have an answer for that) that Generosity lacked. Sure many of the great novels that are considered today to be classics weren't so popular in their era of publication, but I think their criticisms sparked more emotional response from the public than Generosity sparked from our class. I really like this idea though and would like to think more about it… is this kind of book its own genre in its own suspended time?

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