“The Great #Gatsby by F. Scott #Fitzgerald, East of Eden by John #Steinbeck…” #JonathanFranzen http://t.co/LC792bnR #PoweroftheWord
Sep 8, 2012
I’m sorry, but you are all wrong, or most all of you. We won’t be reading anyithng of now in fifty years. Works of literature aren’t really assessed in that kind of a time frame anymore, except by specialists, and specialists don’t have much to do with the rest of us.But to fully answer the question given, I would second the post of the person who asked you mean, Nathan, by read. Do you mean in a literature review course? Or do you mean popularly like Tolkien is now? These are two different questions. A Literature review class will read the kind of nonsense literature review classes always read, they will be books that are very depressing and socially interesting and mostly awful, like Lovely Bones. The classes will be taught by well meaning and idealistic academics with very little connection to the rest of the world. And they will continue to perpetrate the myth on generations of students that literature isn’t particularly entertaining, just thought-provoking. God willing most of those will be expunged from the cannon soon there after.Specialist literature classes like African American Classes will read books from Morrison and Walker and Hurston as they do today, but have any of you read Alexie? Probably, how about M. Scott Momaday, likely fewer, but no one mentioned either of them as someone who will be read in fifty years. Both are taught in Native American Literature classes as timeless authors whose work will influence generations to come. More fodder for the specialist classes.Popularly, though, there is nothing that is out there that will be read. Nothing. Most of the books mentioned in the responses are quite good, some more than others in my opinion, but none of them have the kind of appeal that makes literature literature in the short term of 50 years.Part of this is because people don’t read in the same way they did 50 years ago. It would be hard to pick out a Hemingway or Fitzgerald simply because books aren’t as important now as they were when Hemingway and Fitzgerald were writing. The question would be better put as who will be popular 100 or 200 years in the future. That would be at least an answerable question as it will give time for dust to settle on the overwrought publishing system we have now.Sorry for the log post, but it is a good question. To sum up, the gems will shine with use, but it will take a long time before that happens.Cheers, K
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