Is the Novel Really Dead?

“[In] the digital age, not only is the physical book in decline, but the very idea of ‘difficult’ reading is being challenged.”

While I would tend to agree with this statement on most days, I’m not sure I would go so far as to say the medium is dead. Like dead-as-a-doornail dead.

However, Will Self has penned a thought-provoking piece for The Guardian, and one thing he had to say about the novel as we know it today is the following:

The form should have been laid to rest at about the time of Finnegans Wake, but in fact it has continued to stalk the corridors of our minds for a further three-quarters of a century. Many fine novels have been written during this period, but I would contend that these were, taking the long view, zombie novels, instances of an undead art form that yet wouldn’t lie down.”

One has to wonder where the novel (or storytelling to be more precise) goes from here. On the one hand, there are fewer publishers, bookstores and literary critics. On the other, there are more people writing and – while the content is debatable – reading. More readers and writers should be a good thing for the future of literature, I would think.

Read the full article for yourself here.


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