Wallace Stevens once said, ‘As life grows more terrible, its literature grows more terrible.’
Every week in Authors Who Made History, we celebrate the life story of any one author who left an impact in the literary world. However, this week I decided to stir things up a little and talk about the authors, yes, I said authors (plural) who left an impact on the literary world for the wrong reasons!
The impact they left being a constant debate among the members of the ‘elite’ literary club and the ‘not-so elite will read anything’ club members.
Need I spell out what their topic of discussion would be? That’s right! They debate on how much of an impact these authors make in the literary world; how much did they contribute to it or rather take away from it?
Make a splash into the world wide web and you will see many incredibly articulate works published everywhere from blogs to online magazines debating if the books published by authors like Stephanie Myers (SM) and E.L. James (ELJ) and their Indian counterparts like Chetan Bhagat (CB) and Ravinder Singh (RS) should be considered as actual literature or just plain trash? Yet another argument that stirs up the debate further is “If they are trashy, then, why are they so successful?”
After spending a few hours reading some of these articles and blog posts, this is my inference of why I think these authors are successful despite writing and publishing what I like to refer as the ‘pop culture literature’
- Market Value versus Literary Value:
The common thought is that these authors write for the masses, not for literature. Their work has no value in literature. They just intend quick fame and money. They get a lot of fan following starting with their debut book.
- The Objectification of Girls:
These books often contain unnecessary accounts of erotica and anatomy, with only female characters as the principal object of description. Even the idea of love in such books is misleading and least like true love, as is shown very clearly in the unhealthy “relationship” between Bella and Edward or Christian and Anastasia in books like Twilight and 50 Shades respectively. This is a sentiment with some basis. It is accepted that while a majority of young females fantasize of romantic love, the majority of young males spend most of their life fantasizing about girls, not romance, and sex, not love.
- Themes Which Suit Movies More Than Books:
The very impression of writing such books are often with the premise of selling them for movie rights. While writing them in form of books is offensive to literature and do not have anything of substance, it is most of the times picked up by Hollywood heavyweights carrying the moolahs.
While I have read books like Twilight and Chetan Bhagat’s 2 States as a pastime— they are not part of my usual reading habits. I consider myself a sophisticated reader all right, but I do not “love to hate” these authors. I do not like the idea of reading them, yes.
Nonetheless, the authors like SM, ELJ, CB, RS are icons in the eyes of teens and young adults (their target audience), having got for themselves fame and love (well maybe hate too!) for what they like doing best: writing.
Let’s find inspiration in them, if not their work. Let’s applaud them for their spirit.