Monday, 26 October 2009

Predicting long term literary success

There was an interesting article in today's Guardian, looking at the results of a poll conducted in 1929 which sought to predict which authors would still be read in 100 years. The striking feature of the poll is the absence of most of the authors from that era who we would now consider to be important. This, of course, raises the question of which of today's authors are likely to be considered important in the future........ Comments welcome!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting 'guardian' article since it is important for every bibliophile to anticipate which books might increase in value in the future and remain valuable without the usual n-turn fluctuation in value due to popular fashion. My take on this is that books like 'Harry Potter' or the Stieg Larsson trilogy will eventually become worthless. The reason for this is simple: a book must be groundbreaking in its originality, influential in the high culture literature genre and/or be written by someone who is a literary superstar or likely to become so. This is valid for Joyce (original, groundbreaking work), Nabokov, D.H. Lawrence etc. If we are to pick contemporary authors who excel in originality I recommend Roberto Bolano (his work is subsequently being translated into English now). Samantha Harvey's 'The Wilderness' is original and the author is very intelligent which is promising for the future. Other than that I go with the usual suspects such as J.M. Coetzee and Rushdie.
The reasons why 'Wolf Hall', this year's Booker winner, won't be read in 100 years are obvious. Countless books have been written on that topic already and will be written in the future.