Importance of Literature nowadays

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Ki-Adi Bundi, Jun 17, 2002.

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  1. Ki-Adi Bundi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2000
    star 4
    Did you ever get the strange (and startling) feeling that most people around you have a great disregard for Literature, to the point that you often feel alone when trying to discuss about some great book or author you just discovered, or appreciated by some degree?
    Considering that Literature is a strong, important and, I daresay, vital piece to the whole human culture, isn't it frightening? Or is this just the natural fear risen by the massification of pop culture, whose overspread tentacles now reach every corner of our daily lifes?
    I am confused and wanted to share it kindly with you :)
  2. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Literature's importance now is the same as it has been since people have been literate. Fortunately, universal literacy is a myth. Most people don't appreciate literature, modern or classic. Many of them simply aren't able; some are, but either aren't interested, or don't have access to it.
  3. Iwishiwasajedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2002
    star 4
    Yes, I feel that some people are starting to regard literture as worthless ****. Okay, sorry for the language, but it's true. A bookworm like myself may not get along well with others because they don't like reading. Actually this is very true. It is ripping apart society and trashing it. I use to have a few freinds when I was real little but as the years went by they thought I was a dork because I read so many books. I can read very fast, very clearly out loud, and easily add tone and pitch to make it sound good. But of course there are people who cannot do this, and I don't shove it in their face or anything real stupid, but you can tell they start to dislike me because of my intelligence.

    So actually, it's not just literature these days, it's also IQ
  4. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I'm not always a big fan of classic literature. I don't always appreciate its literary merits. I don't find it easy to read archaic languages or styles. And literature was not, and is not, written for the masses. It was written for the exceptional, and the smart. And current literature is just as good as old literature. It's also more accessible. People who ignorantly bash literature are wrong. People who read it and decide they don't like it are absolutely within their rights.
  5. darthsecret Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    As an American I have noticed that in general our culture is not one which likes to read. I blame this on TV. I don't understand how some one could go through life without books, but many do. I think the form of alienation that you are experiencing is becoming more common. When I was in college I knew other students who hated reading and I always wondered what the ---- they were doing in an institution of higher learning. Luckily my professional life is full of fellow readers.
  6. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Darth Secret

    They are there because they have been told all of their lives that they are college material. I see it every fall and every year I have to tell students that they are not college material.

    Iwishiwasajedi
    I think you are just noticing the gap that has always existed between the educated and the masses. Those that read have a higher tendency to be aware of their surroundings and are more in tune with their environment, whatever it may be.
  7. Ki-Adi Bundi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2000
    star 4
    Mastadge:

    I'm not always a big fan of classic literature. I don't always appreciate its literary merits.

    I don't either. There are many consacrated authors and books that I dislike greatly. There are even books from an author that I love, and books from same author that I loathe. You are entitle to your opinion. To like Literature, you don't have to love every and single work of literature ever written and consacrated.

    I don't find it easy to read archaic languages or styles.
    Many authors from a distant past, often called "classics" today, are revered for the influence to the Literature, and even to the society, of their epoch. I sometimes find that reading from these authors is rather boring (due generally to that fact that their styles were exaustively copied), and prefer to regard them for their importance rather than for their literary appeal on me.

    And literature was not, and is not, written for the masses. It was written for the exceptional, and the smart.
    For the smart, perhaps, but not for the exceptional :)

    And current literature is just as good as old literature.
    This is the main point of my question. Is it really good? Is it really influent and important? Name a recent author that established new parameters and standards in the behaviour of their society with their literary work, as many have done in the past.

    Point is, as the masses grew larger, the number of good literary work remained nearly the same, and its influence got diluted in the billions of souls that there are today. Some people even predict the death of the Literature as known today in a few decades.
  8. Iwishiwasajedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2002
    star 4
    Maveric: Yes, you have a good point. It has always been around in socity, and it always will be. But I think its gotten worse over the past few years.

  9. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    This is the main point of my question. Is it really good? Is it really influent and important? Name a recent author that established new parameters and standards in the behaviour of their society with their literary work, as many have done in the past.

    Umm...name some novels that "established new parameters and standards in the behaviour of their society." In any era. We will not live to see which modern books live to be considered classics; it is inevitable that many of the great ones will be lost in the vast hordes of crap on the shelves. I have no doubt that great novels of the past, too, have been unfortunately overlooked and forgotten. And I think it's unfortunate that so much crap is published today, because it will only make it harder for the good stuff to find the recognition it deserves. But yes, I think there are books written today that compare to Odyssey, Iliad, Beowulf, Don Quixote, Shakespeare, Moby-Dick, The Three Musketeers, or any number of other "classics."
  10. Ki-Adi Bundi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2000
    star 4
    Mastadge, care to name a few?
    And in response to the question in the begining of your paragraph, I think most of the books and authors you mentioned in its end fall in the category of "revolutionary" or "highly influential". Perhaps a few others: The Republic, by Plato, works by Goethe, works by Plutarch, and I fail to recollect more :) Unfortunatelly, their value is seldom forgot because it was a long time ago that their influence made a major strike.
  11. Rilina Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 2000
    star 3
    And literature was not, and is not, written for the masses. It was written for the exceptional, and the smart. And current literature is just as good as old literature. It's also more accessible.

    As Shakespeare said, "Comparisons are odious." Why do we have to say one era's literature is better than anothers? It's often a case of apples and oranges--how can you justly compare an epic poem to a work of philosophy to a contemporary novel?

    I'd disagree, however, with the assessment that current literature is more accessible. That depends a lot on what sort of current literature you're reading. If we're talking about "serious" contemporary literature--the sort of stuff that will be studied in college English courses in 20 years--I don't think that's necessarily correct. A lot of serious contemporary literature is very allusive and packed with references to all sorts of things that came before. Take The Satanic Verses--that's hardly easily accessible to the general reader. Anything by Thomas Pynchon, Don Delillo--these aren't easily accessible novels.

    Maybe a mass market John Grisham novel is more accessible than Virginia Woolf, but Woolf was hardly the John Grisham of her era. Agatha Christie would be much closer to the John Grisham of that era--and I would hardly qualify Christie as "inaccessible."
  12. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Why do we have to say one era's literature is better than anothers

    :confused: I didn't say that one era's is better than another's. I said that current literature is literature just as much as old literature is literature.
  13. Rilina Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 2000
    star 3
    Sorry Mastadge--didn't mean to make it sound as if that particular comment was only directed to you. Just a general observation for the thread. :)
  14. Apprentice_15 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2002
    star 2
    A lot of people think I'm showing off my intelligence at school by reading all these
    "big books" all the time. I'm a very quiet person, and I don't really talk with any
    one so reading is the best thing I do during lunch time. It's better than reading the crap they want you to read in school anyway.

    The reason I think people don't like reading in our young generation is because
    a lot of people at my school and the schools I attended before don't want other
    people to make fun of them. Anothr reason may be they just don't find anything
    interested to read. Or, they have better things to do. :) j/k
  15. SirLancelot Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 10, 2002
    star 4
    has anyone here read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury? it is a good example of what will happen if we stop reading good literature. everyone should read it.
  16. MrEmh Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 2
    I agree that there is a gap between the literary and the masses. Even the educated sometimes refuse to read. I live in a house with four other guys at school, and only one of them reads with the same frequency I do. Another says he's reading, but really has had the same page marked for the past year. The guy next door to me recently started reading novels after I introduced Stephen King and promised there would be violence, scarey writing and small, gratuitous sex scenes. The fourth roommate, well, he reads, but in private as though he is ashamed to be holding a book.

    People are taught today not to read, but o watch, not to absorb meaning and insight from great literary works, but to plunk down $9 to go see the latest pop-action fun ride with Teen Star #421. The emphasis on reading that was very present in first half of the century - even up to the Sixties - has deteriorated. Kids play video games; they used to read comics and pulp novels, but parents think they're trash and don't promote them. It's a shame when parents deny literature because of their gorwn of affectations and tastes, despite them being elitist and frankly wrong.
  17. Apprentice_15 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2002
    star 2
    I, too, sometimes feel isolated from others who don't read. I think its ridiculous
    that people feel ashamed just because they are holding a book. I don't know
    wheather its conformity or what.

    But, like I said before, a lot people don't want to read because they either don't
    get it, they play sports all the time, they're stupid, they are not interested in
    books, they don't have time, they don't read in public or whatever. Its sad,
    really, its like we are the last of a dying breed.
  18. Adi_Gallia_9 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2001
    star 5
    I too have noticed this disturbing trend. At the end of school this year the teachers had all the students list all the books they had read outside of school. I was one of the very few who actually had anything to put down. And as Apprentice said, I have been critcized for being a voracious reader as it's not 'cool' for a teenager to read.

    Sadlt, I think the decrease in reading is due in part to other forms of entertainment for people. Computers, video games and TV are now an easier way to be entertained (I saw this as I sit on a computer... ;)) The popularity of these any other mediums has drawn children away from books. I feel lucky I do have a love of reading; I know for a fact that having read so many books is one of the reasons I do well in school.

    I'm not trying to push Harry Potter here or anything, but I do think it has helped young children fall in love with reading. Here's an interesting story on how more parents are reading to their children at bed time, partially because of Harry Potter as well as the Lord of the Rings. While I doubt this will make everyone in the world readers, it is good to see.
  19. Apprentice_15 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2002
    star 2
    Adi,

    Has anyone ever called you "arrogant" or a show off" because you read a lot?
    I know I have faced that problem at school and I was wondering if you do?
  20. MrEmh Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 2
    Now I have never been called either of those, but I have been called things synonymous with bookworm, both positive and negative. Most people just wonder why I choose to read so much. I carry the book I am reading almost everywhere I go - class, bathroom, breakfast, on vacation, on the bus, on semi-long and long car rides, sometimes even to the movies if we're getting there early.

    I just read a lot.
  21. Apprentice_15 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2002
    star 2
    Its just too bad. People are missing out on some great stuff...... :(
  22. CloneofPhanan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2000
    star 4
    I think literature is still important, but I would like to disagree with those who say there are those who are incapable of appreciating it. Everybody is capable of appreciating literature, I think that many people dislike reading because they've been raised to be mentally lazy and fear they won't enjoy it. I'm not saying everyone can like everything ever written (I certainly don't), but they can appreciate at least something that has been written.
  23. Apprentice_15 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2002
    star 2
    CloneofPhana,

    Going back to what I said early, that's exactly why its so sad about people who
    don't want to read: They really don't know what they are missing out on. But,
    at least we can indulge ourselves in good books. :)
  24. SCOTSSITHLORD Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 2
    I've always pitied people who aren't interested in reading, they don't know what they're missing. It's very seldom that any movie based on a novel is the equal of the written work.
    Literature at it's finest, should be challenging, but accessible, which is why I prefer many south american writers to their european or north american counterparts. I find a high percentage of modern fiction, to be guilty of sophistry and navel gazing. Salman Rushdie is a prime example of this in my opinion. He's not in the same class as Gabriel Garcia Marquez. One hundred years of solitude and Love in the time of cholera border on the poetic, and succeed in conveying a range of emotions. Two of the finest books I've ever read were written by the peruvian Mario vargas llosa, The war of the end of the world, and conversations in the cathedral.
    Beryl Bainbridge does a similar job with British history, illuminating the past through her fiction, such as Master georgie.
    Of all current US authors I highly rate James Lee Burke, but owing to snobbery in the literary world, he will never get the credit he deserves as he will always be pigeonholed as a crime writer. It sometimes appears as though the most important factor in deciding literary prizes is that the winning book must under no circumstances have a strong, clear narrative or actually be about anything. It seems a pity that in the 21st century when literacy rates in the developed world are so high, that far too many people never bother with anything other than tabloid newspapers and airport novels.
  25. Ki-Adi Bundi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2000
    star 4
    So, do you think this is due to the mass media, which intoxicates us to the point of numbness with idiotic atractions, or it is a phenomenon related to the fact that we have more people in the world, and less means of educating them?
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