Tag Archives: novels

Art in the Age of …

I have finally, as anyone who cares about art should, read Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” I did not know what to expect, and was surprised by what I found. It is an essay that deals mostly with film and not at all with literature. Despite the author’s political tendencies he had some very remarkable points about the nature of art — remarkable in that they were honest and clear and, well, novel. He examines the implications of technical (not manual) reproduction on the properties and values of traditional art forms, moving to film as an exemplar of an art created in this new environment of reproduction. But he doesn’t mention literature. Continue reading

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What is a novel?

The novel as a literary genre is a pretty broad category. There are, of course, sub-genres such as romance and sci-fi, and it is common to even hear the term “literary novel” used by critics and writers. The novel is a type of fiction, but other than that the genre is pretty undefined which will pose a problem as technology changes the way in which novels are written, published and read.

This piece at the Financial Times adds “novel of ideas” and the “philosophical” novel to the mix of novelistic types.

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“Operative irony” is not the future

In an April 12th essay online at Granta, author Toby Litt writes one of the better reflections on the multifaceted impact of technology on the literary novel. Entitled “The Reader and Technology,” I had expected another nostalgia-driven tirade against technology, but was pleasantly surprised.

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