Is it important to learn about classic literature to better understand contemporary writing?
I think this a great start for a topic! Maybe you could refine the topic a little by pointing to specific classics that are commonly assigned in secondary education? For example, To Kill a Mockingbird, Great Expectations, etc. I think that specific examples would definitely focus the article more and add to its impact. – Opaline3 months ago
Learning the basic nature of Classic Literature has always had a high importance, but there are stories that can be substituted. This might be something you'd want to explore as you're researching, such as what books might be able to replace, for example, A Tale of Two Cities in terms of having the same themes; so perhaps finding a more modern novel with themes of doppelgangers, unrequited love, and so on. I believe this is how new classics are born as time goes on and the classics we have now become more like the tales of Chaucer - simply something we skim over once or twice through secondary school or university. – Steven Gonzales3 months ago
I'm so glad there are more voices for this! I've taught college and high school, and I lose sleep over the push to leave Classic Literature to electives and Humanities rather than retaining it as part of a general education requirement. Yes, there are some we can substitute, but why? I don't believe that anything contemporary has the same academic or historical value. The emphasis on language and prose style is often only evident in older works. I would love to see how many of the most successful writers were influenced by the classics. A lot of the best novels out there have hints of classic works - prose, themes, conflicts and unique premises. To understand contemporary works, it would help to read the works that influenced their authors. – wtardieu3 months ago
Why is it that people find it so difficult and unsavory to read? Very few people actually enjoy and take it upon themselves to read anything from literature, modern works, the news, or frankly anything that consists of many words that require analytical thought to understand. Has this become too much for people? Literacy should never be compromised.
Who are these people?! And also what makes you think we read less? I guess I don't know either way, but do you have some statistics saying that book sales are lower? Or libraries are empty? I know print is going away, but I think people still read news on line. Or read magazines. – Tatijana1 year ago
I can personally vouch for some of your sentiments. Despite my best intentions, it takes a lot of personal coaxing to get myself to sit down and read instead of doing something else. Because when I like to relax, I like to use my eyes and my hands or my ears rather than sit in the same position letting my eyes roll over a page. Although to be honest, I've had this inkling lately that I would get much more satisfaction from reading a book than watching a film, because often, the stories in some of the books I remember enjoying in the past were more engaging and dynamic than a lot of the films I enjoy. So I have plenty of reason to return to reading books. I just don't find myself doing it much, if at all, on a day to day, week to week, and month to month basis. I DO, however, read plenty of articles and stuff online, including here on the Artifice. It's just when it comes to books, especially thick or heavy ones, I have less of a tendency to pick one up. – Jonathan Leiter1 year ago
I think you would find it very difficult to argue that no-one reads when they would have to read your article to see your argument..? It could certainly be said that people's reading habits have changed: Online content tends to have shorter paragraphs to keep attention; short stories and poetry are starting to be more popular again because they can more easily be devoured in a short amount of time; if you really wanted to argue that people don't read at all, you could potentially look at the re-emergence of spoken-word poetry (such as Polarbear or Kate Tempest) and how people are listening to poetry because of podcasts, commutes etc. rather than buying poetry books and reading them (this can be proven with the poetry book sales vrs views on youtube etc. for said artists.) – Francesca Turauskis1 year ago
If you Google "people reading less" like I did, you may find more concrete examples to support the topic, as others have suggested. In an October 2015 study, to paraphrase, American people in general read less, but women and young adults read the most. I'd be curious to see why that is. Here's a link: http://electricliterature.com/survey-shows-americans-are-reading-less-but-women-and-young-people-read-the-most/ – emilydeibler1 year ago
This is very interesting. I would like to see some psychological articles interact with this reading into our culture, and possibly the implications of the dominance of social media. – emilyinmannyc1 year ago
Others above have questioned the general statement about 'people not liking reading'. But could it be asked, "What has happened to society's attention span?" Someone once said he reads the first paragraph of a book and if it doesn't interest him, he moves on. Really? I also heard someone say they won't watch any movie from the 70's or before because they are too slow. Where is the public's patience? I attended a lecture by a successful screenwriter and he said there is a golden rule in the biz that no one camera shot lasts longer than 8 seconds. I didn't believe him until I started counting at the movie theater and sure enough, the camera changes every 8 seconds. Does the 'fast' changes of camera shots, the high paced video games and instant chat of texting influence our attention span? Are we no longer satisfied with Fast Food and now demand Faster Food? This could be a relevant take on the subject. - Dr. T – DrTestani1 year ago
I this topic could be taken in the direction that people don't read as much as they used to. To support this idea, things such as the decline in business success of bookstores, or the rise of flash fiction as a popular form of literature can be examined. Is it that people no longer like to read, or that they would rather pull up a piece of flash fiction on their phone rather than lug a copy of Anna Karenina around with them? – MichelleAjodah1 year ago
I have to question such an absolute statement as literacy should never be compromised. I am not sure if you mean literary appreciation, which I definitely think can and should be compromised. I think that literacy is irrelevant and a completely different issue than what you are discussing before. Whether or not one can read does not mean that they will want to read, and I think that the causes for someone being illiterate are different for those who are less passionate to read. Anyway, I think this is an interesting topic, but the writer needs to have a wider view of the media landscape than saying that something should not be compromised. Perhaps, look at some of the benefits/harms of straying from normal reading activity, the changes in how people consume literature, and definitely why these changes have occurred, and perhaps where we are moving towards, whether it be some post-physical or post-social landscape of reading, or so on. – Matthew Sims12 months ago