What the great writers had that we don’t.

I loved this interesting look at why the quality of writing has deteriorated since my grandmother’s time.

My Antimatter Life

Have you noticed the decline in writing quality in some newly-published books? I’m not talking about the self-published and small press novels, but the ones from major publishers. And when you compare today’s writing output not to the writers of a few decades back, but to the great writers of the English language, it’s clear that something is missing. And that something should really be put back.

What did the great writers have going for them? A number of things, in their education and homelife, that don’t really exist today. Let’s look at a few of them.

Foreign language. Education in the English-speaking world was originally centered on learning two foreign languages, Latin and Greek. As late as the time in which writer C. S. Lewis was being educated, Latin and Greek, with an emphasis on the grammar, were still essential parts of education. Today, by contrast, language learning materials…

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2 thoughts on “What the great writers had that we don’t.

  1. It’s funny because I don’t think ours is the first era to suffer. I think the 30s-50s were not that great either. I really didn’t care for the terse language and half-developed plots of what was supposed to be edgy at the time. But what I think then and now has in common is a democratization… then it was readers–reading was going through a “no longer just for elite” and so writers were writing to a “mass market” in a way they really hadn’t before. I mean Dickens and Dumas did, via periodicals, but even THOSE at the time were considered vulgar. (they are the ones I like best, by the way–that late 19th century mass market writing style is fabulous because they write for the weekly cliffhanger). But now the democratization is of the writer… anybody can write and publish a book. So I don’t think there are fewer great books. I think the great books have just gotten harder to find because there is so much else. And because there is so much else, publishers have gotten skrimpy on upfront costs except when they have a “sure thing”–less editing, fewer feedback iterations. I bet when we are 20 years past it, this generation won’t look so bad because the dreck will have fallen to the side.


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