Tuesday, August 5, 2008

American Lit. 101 v.2

Dear George,

Do you know why modern literature is so sterile? It is the lack of hardship. Prosperity is downright boring; too much of it leads to a paralyzing self-absorption that lacks the cloying sentimentality that is the warp and weft of great literature. When was the last time another Dickens appeared on the literary scene?

And let’s be honest; suffering cloys. Who has not been moved to tears by the long, drawn-out, interminable death of Jo the street-crossing sweeper in Dickens’s Bleak House, that unlettered, unwashed, unfed waif who knew “nothink?” Comforted by the noble surgeon, Alan Woodcourt who could do nothing for the kid except walk him through the Lord’s Prayer, Jo’s voice grows weaker and weaker as he repeats each line of the prayer until he finally gasps out, “Hallowed be thy…” and croaks. He was but one of the ragged and hungry waifs that peppered so much of Victorian literature.

O, George! If the poor prosper, whom shall we pity? What is there to write about if you have a nation that is fed and clothed? Authors are reduced to writing about anxiety, unhappy relationships, and life’s nihilistic boredom. Of course life is boring if you don’t have to grub for food and shelter.

But, you are changing all that! You are marching us back to that golden age of filthy slums, unchecked crime, homeless children and twelve-year-old whores. It was an era when the civilized cruelty of Social Darwinism reigned supreme.

Soon, our authors will pen saccharine tomes of impoverished widows and hungry children, their pale, drawn faces pressed against the windows of the privileged, a tear running down their besmirched cheeks as they watch the gaiety and wealth that will be forever beyond their reach.

There is no sentimentality without suffering. And you are supplying ample suffering for which the authors, literary agents and publishing houses of America thank you. You and you alone, are bringing great literature back to the Euromerican world.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

3 comments:

David M said...

These days most people don't even read marvel comics let alone Dickens. Theres to much good television on. Right?

Case Wagenvoord said...

Where else can you find the pathos of the pathetic.

thepoetryman said...

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