Bronwyn's Library Blog

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The death of literature?

Michael Masterton wrote an article about the decline of reading and literature in his ezine Early to Rise #1599 . I had to respond. Obviously his title "The end of Literature" was meant to arouse some response. But the main thrust of his article was to decry the end of reading and books. As a librarian and avid reader these are also thoughts that are uppermost in my mind these days, too. Nevertheless, I have to disagree with Michael. I don't think reading is dying, and literature that we idolised last generation and last century may be dying, but I would prefer to use the word changing. We read, but in different formats and from different sources. Many of us use the internet for information that once we retrieved from books. We develop a sense of community with writers on the internet that once we got from magazines and newspapers. But both of those still involve reading. I still read for pleasure in an archair or in bed - from books and I don't think that is changing much, although I read (there's that word again) that people use their mobile devices and computers to read for pleasure. Those may grow, but the comfort is not there so it will be slow.As for literature... It is changing as it always has done. Sentence structure is changing. Storytelling techniques are changing. And our tastes are changing parallel to those changes in writing style. What is considered current great literature is changing. And yes, oral storytelling evolved into paper based materials so that the stories could be preserved better. And we were glad. Now the preservation/publication styles are changing to be able to tell stories orally but preserve them as well. An entirely different pleasure is involved in listening from the pleasure involved in reading, but it is literature all the same. So Michael, maybe it's change we have to face, and embrace, if we choose, but it is not death - well not of literature and reading.


Post a Comment

<< Home