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Classics vs.Moderns : Book Discussion • Page 2 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Classics vs.Moderns

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sarrot
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Re: Classics vs.Moderns

Postby sarrot » Tue May 31, 2011 5:34 am

I do not understand why you take it so personally. I am not saying your work is trash or you are trash, I am saying that the contemporary modern writer is. My writing is not good and I will never claim that my writing is the ideal-frankly my writing sucks. However, to say that good writing is subjective is not true. Good writing, good stories are good regardless of the hand that writes it.
For example, that book Being There was good. Secondly, there are people on this site that are good. All writers have egos, and all egos go into writing.

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updog
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Re: Classics vs.Moderns

Postby updog » Tue May 31, 2011 6:18 am


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shadowwalker
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Re: Classics vs.Moderns

Postby shadowwalker » Tue May 31, 2011 6:38 am


sarrot
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Re: Classics vs.Moderns

Postby sarrot » Tue May 31, 2011 7:08 am

Name me a good writer today, really name me a writer today that has depth, insight to our humanity, and provides an entertaing story.

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allz28
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Re: Classics vs.Moderns

Postby allz28 » Tue May 31, 2011 7:14 am

Sarrot,

I'm not writing this to be mean, but you need to reevaluate your take on modern literature (and Mark Twain). The problem is you, the reader, not the authors. Books like Catcher in the Rye don't rise to their level of success from being no good. The problem is either you don't understand modern books or you're prejudices are blinding you to their brilliance. Catcher in the Rye embodies the teenage angst that defines America's youth. You may not identify with Holden, but most of America (maybe even the world) has, including me.

I think you need to think of books like music. The classics like Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Mozart--they were fabulous composers. But so were/are Scott Joplin, Buddy Holley, The Beetles, Bob Dylan, Curt Cobain, Tupac and many, many other more modern song writers. They have different styles, sure, but they've each made their own contribution to society. Tolstoy was like Mozart, writing an orchestra. Hemingway was like Buddy Holley, writing plain spoken music for a three piece band that packs the same amount of musical punch. And remember, if Mozart was born today, he'd be writing rock & roll or hip hop. And if Tolstoy was born today, I'm sure you'd see a completely different War and Peace--but it would still be just as good.

Modern music still has fabulous composers (John Williams, Thomas Newman) and modern literature still has writers who can create literary masterpieces. I'd suggest you get your hands on some Pulitzer Prize winning books and stop judging all modern authors by The Twilight Saga.

The 20th century was already the greatest literary century in the history of mankind. I predict the 21st century will be even better.

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allz28
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Re: Classics vs.Moderns

Postby allz28 » Tue May 31, 2011 7:22 am


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updog
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Re: Classics vs.Moderns

Postby updog » Tue May 31, 2011 7:28 am


sarrot
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Re: Classics vs.Moderns

Postby sarrot » Tue May 31, 2011 7:43 am

allz

That is something to the extent what I wanted, but I am not prejudice to newer works; if it is good, than it is good. I agree with you on all your points. Though I do not like Catcher in the Rye, I understand its appeal. Maybe I just did not care enough or vented my angst in other means (like philosophy) that I missed the point. I like Hemingway. I also tip my hat to Orwell. In fact I very much enjoyed Being There. I still cannot bring myself to liking Twain, maybe I do not get him, maybe because I had to struggle with a lot of things where Twain's view did not resonate; preferring the darker, more robust symphonies, you know, works that have lasted. Had I been born later, maybe I would feel different, but to ask for a symphony when I will have to pay for it is not a terrible request, is it?

I am a far harsher critic of myself, preferring to destroy all the stories I had written, because I do not deem them worthy. However, I am looking for my next great symphony and try to make my poor excuses for writing like those symphonies.

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M G Kizzia
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RE: Classics vs.Moderns

Postby M G Kizzia » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:51 pm

I feel the problem here is comparing apples to oranges

I know we want to talk about substance, but whenever I encounter this debate I always feel it is more an argument of style.

Do you know about the great Jane Austin Hoax?  I don’t recall the details at all, but basically some students invented a fake author, copied Pride and Prejudice word for word and submitted it as an original work.  A few editors recognized it, to their credit.  Most  rejected it flat out.  The remaining few said (essentially) the story showed promise but the author might consider some serious editing as in its present form it is far too wordy.

The classical writers did not live in the world of Entertainment Tonight, Twitter and the National Enquirer.  They did not live in a world of short or no attention spans and hardly any human contact outside of Facebook.  They also did not have the competition for the entertainment dollar that writers have today.  For these and other reasons (I believe) writers today are lean and mean, concerned with grabbing and holding a reader to the page.  You won’t find a modern rambling on for seven pages over a fine philosophical point.

As for good writing being subjective.  Ha!  I prefer the impressionists, but I have seen both the Sistine Chapel and The Mona Lisa, and while not my style, there is no question they beat dogs playing poker.

I hate opera, but Rossini, Wagner and Strauss were brilliant composers.  I take nothing away from the Beatles or Five Iron Frenzy, but I recognize the quality in the work as opposed to the “noise” of the garage band of kids down the street.

James is right.  Nietzsche was an idiot of the blithering variety.  I would add, in my opinion, Kafka makes me gag and I will never understand what people find good about James Joyce’s stream of “unconsciousness” writing.  (A Portrait of THE Artist… talk about ego!).  But I have enough sense to acknowledge they all wrote brilliantly. 

I think what you meant to say is taste is subjective.  Even if quality art cannot be quantifiably determined, history, at least, has a way of sorting out the good from the schleps.

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lit_lover88
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Re: Classics vs.Moderns

Postby lit_lover88 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:03 am

AMEN! (to shadowalker, allz, and m.g.)

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