luka

Well-known member
Staff member
After all if guilt was all it took to create great works of literature and philosophy we'd all be at it.
 

catalog

Well-known member
You've got me there. I don't disagree though. You could broaden it a bit if you wanted. 'guilt and having done deeds'?
 

catalog

Well-known member
I can probably explain better, don't have time for anything clear right now. Might do an effort post later
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
The novel as doorstop is a relic of pre-TV/mass media. And even in those dark days they were often serialised - I think even 'Ulysses' was, actually?
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer

He wasted years on it and then nobody read the fucking thing.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I still think novels have a lot of value, ofc, just that they're now competing with TV, movies, music, the Internet.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
One of the less exalted reasons I got into poetry in recent years was how short poems usually are. You can reread them, memorise them, etc. So many of the novels I've read (great ones included) I've more or less completely forgotten now.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I still think novels have a lot of value, ofc, just that they're now competing with TV, movies, music, the Internet.
It's not just that they are competing with them but the preconditions for reading a big book are eroded by those other forms of entertainment. The internal stillness and silence, the attention span, the active imagination, all the things you need to make the book come to life. Those other entertainment media aren't just competing for your time they are changing your consciousness/environment to the point where the big book becomes almost impossible.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Yeah, true. It's an alien mode of consciousness now.

Should novels now feature hyperlinks? (This has probably already been done and is now old hat.)

I read in some book about Shakespeare (Frank Kermode maybe) how in Shakey's day audiences were used to standing in church and listening to three hour sermons. So they were able to take in language aurally in a way that we find much harder today. That was a theory of the author's, I suppose, but seemed convincing to me.

TV boxsets are typically cited as showing that the appetite for long form narrative is still there. Except TV spoon-feeds it to you.

On the plus side, they have to be entertaining in a way that "high-culture" novels long ago stopped bothering with. Dickens was a great entertainer. His novels are full of unbelievable devices and so on but he was a master storyteller, as was Robert Louis Stevenson, etc.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
I still think novelists have to bring something new formally and thematically and be part of the zeitgeist. From that point of view the novel is dead and its last twitch was the Brat Pack.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
It's not just that they are competing with them but the preconditions for reading a big book are eroded by those other forms of entertainment. The internal stillness and silence, the attention span, the active imagination, all the things you need to make the book come to life. Those other entertainment media aren't just competing for your time they are changing your consciousness/environment to the point where the big book becomes almost impossible.
This also begs the question as to what value poetry can have in a world that's desensitised to language (which surrounds us in advertising even when we're not online), and filling up so much headspace. We skim read everything now.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I still think novelists have to bring something new formally and thematically and be part of the zeitgeist. From that point of view the novel is dead and its last twitch was the Brat Pack.
Clearly a book like "Gone Girl" isn't formally innovatory but I wonder if it's runaway success suggests that it tapped into something zeitgeisty? (I've not read it, which doesn't help me out here.)

Something more genuinely zeitgeisty than, say, Ian McEwan's strained and bookish attempts at writing novels about AI.
 
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