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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Case for Literature

I feel bad that I haven't posted anything in the last few days. I am flooded with work, and I suspect I will be for another week or so. What I have been reading lately concerns most of all writing, but some of the essays have gone into great detail about the state of literature today. I guess I am also concerned about the future of literature because I am a teacher, but the primary reason also deals with the way things are today. From various sources I have come to realize that literature is in trouble; that entertainment is not what it used to be. I don't want to paint an apocalyptic future for literature but it is a fact that people are reading less today than they did, say, fifty years ago. Perhaps it has to deal with television, but maybe that is the same thing people said with the advent of films. The contradiction, it seems, is the proliferation of mega-bookstores all over the United States. I wonder how Borders and Barnes & Noble stay in business when so few people are actually reading. It isn't a surprise, however, that the DVD/Music section of Barnes & Noble is larger than the literary fiction section is. It doesn't make me mad, it rather makes me feel depressed at the loss of such a beautiful art.

Ever wonder where the never-ending stream of technology will lead? Is anyone paying attention to the fact that culture is rapidly evolving due to the flood of tech-toys? Doesn't it seem like these companies are coming out with a new cellphone weekly? It does. The more we accessorize the less we are prone to leisure activities and leisure time (the very thing tech companies swear we'll have if we use their product). I don't know... I don't know what the answer is. It is really all very confusing. Every little thing seems to demand so much time, so much effort that by the time we get around to a book we are extremely exhausted and unable to concentrate. And children today for the most part do not seem to care, or are totally unaware of where we are heading. As a teacher this hurts me, but as long as I have one caring soul in my class I will make some endeavour. The current situation is this: this generation of teens are not into reading and society and big business are not doing anything to alleviate that; all they care is for their bottom line. Will literature die with our generation? I am sure others have questioned that, but they never did so under the threat we are facing.

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At 9:59 AM, Blogger Susan Abraham said...

I enjoyed this post tremedously, JCR.
You always offer a fine read.
I hear what you're saying.
But I feel that literature will be saved.
There was such a fear when online reads popped up on the internet.
The fear was that trade publishing and books would die.
Then it turned out to be the other way around.
Today, book publishing is a mega (monumental) industry worldwide.
But I love your thinking articles.
Enjoy your passions, JCR.
Waiting to hear about your next read.
And I'm quite quite sure that literature will be saved. :-)

At 11:50 PM, Blogger BookGirl said...

I almost hate to point you to this article but thought you'd find it of interest as it's on the death of poetry: http://www.bitsofnews.com/content/view/5056/42/

Great post. I also think about the death of literature/reading. Especially when I'm at the library and see most patrons at the computers and not in the book aisles. But, then I see all the wonderful book bloggers out there and I think, hey we are doing our part in keeping literature alive. So I take quite a bit of comfort in that :)


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