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/lit/ - Literature

Discussion of Literature
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File: e0fc4c230e0f495⋯.png (92.7 KB, 699x463, 699:463, PZJGE12.png)

 No.16526

We live comfy thanks to technology, which grows more and more, covers wider and wider patches of our life with each year that passes by; and obviously, people's way of seeing life changes with this cybernetic development.

Considering that in no time we will be entering into the robotic era already, what's your opinion about Literature's future? Do you see a bright future ahead for it? Are books going to die? Will Literature cease to exist at some point?

(pic unrelated)

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 No.16527

>are books going to die

Possibly though considering we're close to another huge war I doubt they'll disappear until a few decades have passed but writing itself will simply become electronic. Just because the use of scrolls died out doesn't mean people didn't start using books for their purpose.

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 No.16528

>Are books going to die?

Physically printed? Not within my lifetime, nor for the short foreseeable future thereafter. The present problem is a glut of used books cycling around with their long lasting nature. What will suffer is the production run numbers of new publications. Still, we'll have plenty of books around for the next century or so. Long term, over the next two hundred years, I can envision the end of physical production of new volumes for all but specialist craft hobbyists. It will be as we have it now for vinyl records—another obsolete technology humanity will carry forward on a small scale for largely nonsensical reasons merely because we can.

>Will Literature cease to exist at some point?

No, although the more popular forms may find themselves a ready refuge in other arts, as poetry is to music writing. Screen writing, plays, comics, etc. More complex and esoteric forms will live on in academia to be a source of discovery for the populists writers to mine and reform to their needs.

>what's your opinion about Literature's future?

>Do you see a bright future ahead for it?

Yes, in terms of output. We'll always be writing. Like Nietzsche's marriage to his typewriter, we'll embrace all the new technology and run like mad with it. As with YouTube, anyone with a computer can get their hands on some video editing software and make content others will view. The problem becomes sustainability as an occupation. Overall, for the art, yes. Overall, for the artists, no. Vidal's observation here is relative but still apt:

To speak today of a famous novelist is like speaking of a famous cabinetmaker or speedboat designer. Adjective is inappropriate to noun. ~Gore Vidal

Nevertheless, successful full time writers are here to stay, but only about the same number in total as we have today. The rest must moonlight in other endeavors, busting their ass to make do between the writing. The market is not supportive of this art-form as an exclusive means of making a living due to competition with other entertainments. Vidal gained his independence as a full novelist through his work in Hollywood. W. Somerset Maugham duly acknowledged his attention deficit suffering critics of his lengthy masterpiece, Of Human Bondage, by penning a suitably short masterpiece, Cakes and Ale. Both writers contended with a visibly shrinking market of readership due to competition only from film and television.

One overlooked traditional advantage to writing is the continuing low cost of creation. A writer pounding down the facts of the matter, or delivering his imagination to us needs no preexisting specialized support systems in place to create. No army of actors, no special effects wizardry, no studio crew, nor any expensive software or hardware. Mastery of style and technique delivered via one's own time and personal effort are all that is required. Economics alone dictate creation of literature must continue.

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 No.16586

>>16526

The only way I could imagine literature, that is to say the durable, visual expression of language, ceasing to exist is 1.) the annihilation of relatively intelligent life forms or 2.) the advent of telepathy or some other totally revolutionary technology.

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 No.16627

>>16526

Literature is already dying, can't you see? Go to a chain book store (ie. Barnes & Noble) and only 1 out of 100 books there could even be considered literature. Peoples' attention spans have been fucked by technology and most people are incapable of putting down Netflix or their smartphone to read something that requires focus and effort. Peoples' standards for literature have dropped drastically and the average person is unwilling to pursue it further than a surface level, Instagram users are "poetry fans" yet have no knowledge of meter or rhyme (http://www.vice.com/en_in/article/zmjmj3/instagram-poetry-become-successful-scam). It's just going to become more and more niche. It will still be studied by professors and pursued by some hobbyists, it will just be less popular.

>>16528

>production numbers

I haven't thought of this. People will still be willing to print books as long as other people are willing to pay for them. What will suffer are the less popular books. It will be very difficult finding something if you're the only person looking for it. Maybe these more obscure books will become valuable collectors items in the future. If I ever become rich or land a good career I'm going to start a personal library and preserve it well.

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 No.16632

>>16627

I generally think things going niche would be for the better since chasing market trends is more often worse. But I guess the market shrinking means book publishers are more justified in being picky.

After I finish my scifi novella (which I even made a thread for), I plan on printing the pages at home and manually binding it. 5.5x8.5 in sheet protectors and a ring binder would also be less susceptible to mold or conventional water damage.

Plus LaTeX takes plain text and handles about everything related to typesetting and imposition. It's about trivial to distribute a print-ready document through torrents (assuming large 600dpi cover pages, it's still about a few megabytes, i.e absolutely nothing compared to 600+ MB YouTube videos that people load without thinking). Technically, it can deliver content; socially / financially / market world of copyright, it comes at a hard clash with "convention".

Technically, the format of a book will always exist. Just not every story will be a business venture.

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 No.16633

File: 64a513d14f399ba⋯.png (75.39 KB, 800x600, 4:3, 2019-12-15-165831_800x600_….png)

File: 813ff0f3eef19da⋯.png (115.82 KB, 800x898, 400:449, 2019-12-15-170012_800x898_….png)

>>16632

Since my images didn't post.

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 No.16639

>>16627

It's a double problem of literacy and wokeness (Tor Books, >>16633 and suchlike).

But then, literacy can and does route around brain-damaged public schools.

And teh woke tend to go broke. If they have to solicit for their retarded stuff, they'll get crappy fanfic grade garbage, and almost nobody will buy it, not even tumblrinas.

So eventually this problem will fix itself too.

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 No.16646

File: 60171e05308e76b⋯.jpeg (349.82 KB, 804x1000, 201:250, 1529357058702.jpeg)

I was going to create another thread, but this one fits well in my discussion, so I will bump it.

Anons WRITERS, how do you view the process of people "de-reading" books in front of your own production?

I write my stories and don't have its publication in mind yet, but sometimes I get discouraged because I'm just writing to keep in my notebook. I think any artist would feel like is creating for the walls, but anyway… When I looking for an audience, I come across basically 4 groups:

>old people, students and cults, who only read old and consagred things, usually in physical books

>Generation Z teens, who only read what the media spews out for them

>"writers' social networks", that work the same way as other social networks, where fame and followers define who gets read and gets attention, regardless the quality

>the other 21st century people, who don't read even a page

It's discouraging…

Publishers are a market where, like any other, advertising and money dominate in distribution and consumption. It doesn't matter if you are good, what matters is that you have a known name and money to put it in the bookstore's windows. In my country, for example, the national literature of Terror is "monopolized" by some specific authors. If you release a book that does not bring notes from these authors in the book's cover, it will not even be placed on the shelf, let alone opened.

Already on the Internet, where there's more freedom and autonomy, online platforms are basically social networks, as I said before; Wattpad is for writing just as Instagram/Facebook is for life. Amid millions of other names, you need a differential to capture the reader's attention, and what would that differential be but fame on the platform? Even Deviantart itself - where you just have to be seen for a few seconds to gain audience - is hard to grow in the face of too much and mastery of the well-known stickers. And I'm just talking about free publication (beucause, obviously, NOBODY would to pay for a ebook from an unknown author).

Anyway… What do you intend to do with your writings?

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 No.16649

I remember reading an article - I can't find it now - that said the authority of the classical literary canon was a byproduct of the authority of Christianity. People who found no compelling reason to believe in Christian dogma also found no compelling reason to read a certain list of great books representing the best that had been thought and said.

I think there is truth in this. The early Christian thinkers - Augustine. Boethius, etc. - had a deep love of the Greco-Roman classics and this carried over into the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The conservative Christian writer Rod Dreher has his children enrolled in a "classical Christian" school, whose curriculum is based on Christian teaching and the Great Books. The Western canon is not exclusively Christian, but you could say it is dialogue with Christianity.

Mass literacy itself is a byproduct of Protestant Christianity. The original reason for wanting everyone to be able to read was so that everyone could read the Bible for themselves. Then literacy - in the sense of knowledge of the three Rs - became necessary for the functioning of an industrial society. But maybe a literate working class is no longer thought to be needed.

I remember William Gibson, lecturing in Rochester in the 1980's, saying in his languid Virginia drawl that in the future, literacy would become a specialty, like coding - not a skill that everybody had or needed to have.

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 No.16650

>>16649

I agree with some of what you say here. Rubenstein's _Aristotle's_Children_ describes a similar relationship between the Church and the Greek and Roman classics. My relatively benign current view of religion went the other way: from the classics to a guarded sympathy with the Church.

Right now I'm reading Shlomo Sands' _Invention_of_the_Jewish_People_, and even the first few pages of front matter in Sands are mind-blowing. His compelling thesis is that there has NOT been an unbroken Jewish culture, let alone a constant Jewish biological "race" with common DNA running from the days of the Biblical account of Abraham and Moses and David and all the rest (most of which never happened anyway) right up to the inhabitants of today's Tel Aviv. If anything, some Arab Israeli dude walking around today in Hebron is probably closer, genetically, to King David than is Benjamin Netanyahu. For centuries, Judaism, before it got crushed by Christianity and Islam, was a proselytizing religion, and the once populous Jewish world of Eastern Europe was made up of descendants of the broken-up kingdom of the Khazars, Jewish converts.

But Sands points out in his first pages that "nationalism" and even "nations" in the modern sense don't really predate mass education and mass literacy. Back in medieval France, let's say, some dude in what is now Lyon didn't know he was "French." Sands' scholarly example: in the kingdom of the Maccabees, the rulers spoke Aramaic, the masses various Hebrew dialects, and the merchants in the cities did their business in the Greek koine – no "nation" there.

Sands draws on Benedict Anderson, who demonstrated that "nations" are imaginary constructs ("consensual hallucinations," to adapt Gibson's description of cyberspace). AND on Ernest Gellner, who argues that "nationalism," which presupposes literacy, creates "nations" – rather than the other way around.

These are fertile concepts. Sands' analysis makes a strong case that an American civil religion (Jefferson, Lincoln, MLK, & maybe even proto-Greenie Thoreau) could persist in a browner nation. It also provides a shorthand way of describing my slide away from teaching. For most of my latter-day students, the imaginary canon of literacy and literature no longer had any grip on them.

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 No.16659

>>16646

I'm somewhat in the same position as you, but probably slightly more strangling since I'm writing fanfiction that doesn't retcon a well-done tragic ending that is unpopular in the fandom.

>Publishers are a market where, like any other, advertising and money dominate in distribution and consumption. It doesn't matter if you are good, what matters is that you have a known name and money to put it in the bookstore's windows.

>"writers' social networks", that work the same way as other social networks, where fame and followers define who gets read and gets attention, regardless the quality

You're right in that it's not actually about quality, merit, or creativity as it is about popularity. The game in social media, and probably not at all different from the times before then was about joining and participating in a "community". For example, easily, fanfiction writers in a fandom: if you joined the "main" Discord, Livejournal circle, you get higher views and ratings than those who don't. It's easily observable that someone who's connected can get 500 views per 300 words despite poor editing or relative low amount of content.

The same goes for writing and book clubs in real life, or your college writing class. I don't think the case is all that different for times before social media, e.g if you ever had that "this <book/film/game/album> isn't all that great even though its popular" moment.

As an added note, I have literally read published fanfiction that had a print run that used "-sama" and Japanese honorifics in the text. It really read like complete cringe despite the praise it gets. The characters were also out-of-character, but the author was well known enough in the fandom to have gone that far.

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 No.16662

>>16633

lol

>>16649

Interesting thought, Anon.

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 No.16668

File: 58abffd51e1c840⋯.png (104.43 KB, 773x805, 773:805, 67lma7hex6r21.png)

If these are the people in charge of it, literature ending is only for the best.

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