Monday, November 02, 2009

If the novel is dead/dying, you haven't checked my purchases lately

Sean Ferrell's cogent argument against The Death of the Novel on his blog. was inspired by Jeff Somers' response to Philip Roth's assertion the novel will be dead in 25 years.

17 comments:

Kristin Laughtin said...

Exactly! Even if, I'll concede, novels become less popular, the amount of people who still have the urge to create them ensures that they won't just disappear. I generally distrust anyone who says something that's been around for a long time will be obliterated relatively quickly, anyway. Even if novels have only been popular for a few centuries, twenty-five years seems much too soon!

Ehh. I like novels. I'm going to keep writing them, even if I'm the last person who likes the form.

Lydia Sharp said...

"It’s always easier to declare the world doomed, and it gets you more press." -Jeff Somers

Yeah. That pretty much sums it up.

ryan field said...

I love to read Roth, but I don't know what he was thinking.

Susan at Stony River said...

Thanks for the links! Interesting reading, and I'll choose what to believe LOL

Kristin, keep writing! In 25 years I'll be retired and will *finally* have time to read as much as I'd like! (I hope--!)

Kiyote said...

it is crazy talk...my book buying has went up while at the same time i cancelled blockbuster and turned off showtime!

Diana said...

If the novel is dying, I guess I better run out and stock up so that I'll have something to read in the future.

Mulled Vine said...

I wonder about this whenever I try to get my kids to turn of the TV or Nintendo and pick up a book. But then I see hoardes of commuters on the London train with noses buried in books and I feel some hope again.

Robert

Roger said...

Here's support for Somers' claim that people's commentary on the demise of society stays pretty much the same: "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise." --Socrates

Also, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfhemo6oeoQ for a funny fictional take on the birth of the book.

AM said...

People will always want stories. Whether they're told around an open fire, or on a stage or screen, or in a novel, someone will be telling the stories. Writers are our storytellers.

I think the novel may evolve over time, but it’ll be here as long as we are.

Wilhem Spihntingle said...

Excellent Post! I have been on many cruises and books still rule the decks every single time. In fact, I dont think I have ever seen anyone using an electronic reader. I am overloaded with technology day in and day out and a book still provides an escape from all of that.

Patrick DiOrio said...

Actually, it's Phillip Roth and his novels that will be dead in 25 years...oy vey...and that ain't no Portnoy's Complaint, neither.

Annette Lyon said...

Had to go read all three posts just to get the full effect. The very idea that the novel is dying . . . well, let's just say it's good I wasn't swigging my can of Mtn. Dew when I read it. It would have spurted all over the screen.

Margaret Yang said...

Jeff Somers' commentary is spot on. Even if (and it's a pretty big if) the novel will cease to exist sometime in the future, what does that have to do with us here and now? Right now, we write novels and we read them, so what's the big deal?

If we change to something else later, then we'll change. Duh.

David Edgerley Gates said...

A) The novel is a recent invention---Defoe, Fielding? And back then it was considered beneath serious notice: i.e., women read novels. (This is of course meant ironically.) B) The novel is a pretty flexible and inclusive form, and Roth may be slighting not only genre writing, but the rest of the world. Is there really an American monopoly on literature?

Steve Stubbs said...

People have been predicting the end of the novel since Apuleius wrote THE GOLDEN ASS. Buddy Holly predicted the end of rock 'n roll by Christmas 1959. Religious nutsos were predicting the end of the whole world (novels and all) by the end of 1000 A.D.

I think what we are more likely to see in less than 25 years is the end of Philip Roth.

Stuart said...

Sad or emboldening, many of us will continue to write, regardless of who is and isn't reading.

Esc said...

Poppycock! It may die on paper but the words from our minds will find a medium to form on and the novel will live forever.