July 18, 2013
Literature Is Dead (According to Straight, White Guys, At Least)

Every few months, a new “Literature is Dead/Dying” think piece crops up in high-profile media. Perhaps you’ve noticed. As a book nerd, I certainly have, though they’ve begun to bleed together: Their diagnoses of literature’s ills tend to be eerily similar.
I’ve suspected for a while that these essays, as a category, might somehow be rooted in declining privilege: Literature has never been a majority interest in America, so I’ve wondered if these writers might be projecting some kind of status insecurity onto literature. Still, until recently I’d never thought to look at the identities of the authors before. And I certainly never thought I’d discover that every last author whose work I had read on the subject would be a white male—or that all but one was straight.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia; Mark Edmundson]

Literature Is Dead (According to Straight, White Guys, At Least)

Every few months, a new “Literature is Dead/Dying” think piece crops up in high-profile media. Perhaps you’ve noticed. As a book nerd, I certainly have, though they’ve begun to bleed together: Their diagnoses of literature’s ills tend to be eerily similar.

I’ve suspected for a while that these essays, as a category, might somehow be rooted in declining privilege: Literature has never been a majority interest in America, so I’ve wondered if these writers might be projecting some kind of status insecurity onto literature. Still, until recently I’d never thought to look at the identities of the authors before. And I certainly never thought I’d discover that every last author whose work I had read on the subject would be a white maleā€”or that all but one was straight.

Read more. [Image: Wikimedia; Mark Edmundson]

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