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MercyfulSatyr
Coelacanthine Cadaver

Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:22 pm
Posts: 1592
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:10 pm 
 

If one looks closely, much of the best-known literary work has come from the period from the 1500s to the mid-1900s. Such greats as Edgar Allan Poe, George Orwell, and J.R.R. Tolkien, not to mention the great William Shakespeare. It seems many of the novels, poems, and plays written during this period have etched themselves into modern thought and culture.

It's obvious we take tremendous influence from works such as "Moby Dick," "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," "1984," and so on. Classical literature forms the basis for a large portion of the intellectual side of society. Big Brother, Captain Ahab, Cthulhu--these are names we often hear even today.

Hypothetically, where do you think we would be today without some of the great works of this era? How would our thinking change if Shakespeare had never lived, or if the classical works we regard the highest today had been disregarded rather than hailed? What would be different in everyday life? How would contemporary works differ? Discuss.
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206
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:00 pm
Posts: 966
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:34 pm 
 

From the timeframe you listed, I think Sir Isaac Newton did the most for mankind - and we would be wholly different beings if his writings died with him.

Probing deeper, I can very well ask where writing, as an art, would be if not for Homer; or how the Renaissance (your starting point) would be without the influence of Christian authors like Jerome or Dante.

But the big issue is the 9th-12th century Troubadours (most notably Arnaut Daniel) and the influence they held on subsequent generations. In this regard, I only see Shakespeare as a poet (and one of the bests, at that) because the bulk of the subject matter for his better plays were shamelessly lifted from 11th century Italians. This information is readily available (and superbly documented in essays by Ezra Pound - your opinions on him as a person notwithstanding).

Hypothetically, we would be shit without religion, since it was the growing intricacy of religious rites and practices that precipitated the need to record things on rolls of dried reeds.

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raveneyeslikemirrors
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:30 am
Posts: 402
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:24 pm 
 

Actually, cosidering Melville's message of man futilly struggling against nature and Shakespeare's roamnces of love it seems to me that modern society has fallen quite short on both these themes in its outlook on reality.

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Shantideva
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:54 pm
Posts: 163
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:34 pm 
 

I don't think it was special, I think it's because your basically saying the period from at the one end the birth of mass literacy in the western world (The beginning, more or less, of popular consciousness) to the most recent works that have been around enough to fully sink in. I'm sure in 50 years or so there will be works of the (currently) modern world that will be looked at similarly. I'm particularly thinking of Chuck Pahlunik (sp?) and Hunter S. Thompson.

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666head
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:51 am
Posts: 180
Location: Heard and McDonald Islands
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:36 pm 
 

It would be very, VERY different, I assure you. To stay on topic, you forgot a figure far more important than any of those you listed. The great Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. He practically created the modern novel as we know it and killed the romantic chivallry that was eating away at people's minds. He, I believe, has done what few people throughout history have, which is, a profound effect on the rest of the species hundreds, perhaps even thousands of years after he/she died. We must also remember, that before TV, people read books for entertaintment.

I honestly think that today, things haven't changed that much. Most books published are still shit, much as they were back then. I think people today read WAY more than people in the past did. As evidence, check out the huge bricks that authors (I myself aren't really fond off) like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and Sthephanie Meyer, just to name a few, write on an almost yearly basis. As shitty as they are, they are a bridge for us to uncover the true gems, like Pablo Neruda, Doris Lessing, Pamuk, etc.

Writing, like all forms of art, expresses how you think, your own cognitive process. And, as comercial as King or Rowling or Meyer may be, they still showcase what gnaws at them constantly, and for that, even the shittiest of books have some literary value.

Many more books from today will etch themselves to our culture soon enough. The really good ones will do that. You just need to give it time.
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