Pride & Prejudice
Anything by Shakespeare...
If written today, would these classic titles have survived the test of time or even been noticed? We live in a world of short attention spans, ADD, multimedia, ads posted on buses, cars, billboards, and even some restaurant bathrooms. (Albeit not very nice restaurants.) We write in small shorthanded snippets, lucky if an entire sentence gets created and read by scanning headlines and bullet points.
So, could any of the books we’ve grown up knowing as classics have ever made themselves known or even read in this new society? Thanks to self-publishing, tens of thousands of books are being published when we might have seen only hundreds in years past. But, this ever increasing competition for our attention, along with our inability to focus for more than mere minutes or even seconds, has made it signficiantly more difficult to imagine having the patience to commit to a heavy novel unless it was riddled with action or suspense.
Recently, I’ve read articles telling authors to split stories down into shorter books and market them as a series. Written even just a decade ago, that would mean the Harry Potter series would have been 15 books instead of 7, which seems a little insane. Regardless of the insanity, it's not a coincidence that today, the most successful self published authors are the ones producing the 'fluffy reading candy,' turning the once regarded act of reading into the equivalent of watching tv, or even playing a video game.
I’d like to believe that a good story is timeless. I just have to wonder how the above ‘classics’ might have been written and/or marketed differently for them to compete today. It makes me shudder to think they may not have been written or published at all.
Will the ‘Classics’ even be remembered 100 years from now? Will they continue to be read? Do you think the pendulum will swing back to a time when we’re tired of the over-stimulation?