12 November 2013

Literature and the Marketplace

Jonathan Franzen, "Why Bother?", How to Be Alone (Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 2002), pp. 64-65:
There's never been much love lost between literature and the marketplace. The consumer economy loves a product that sells at a premium, wears out quickly or is susceptible to regular improvement, and offers with each improvement some marginal gain in usefulness. To an economy like this, news that stays news is not merely an inferior product; it's an antithetical product. A classic work of literature is inexpensive, infinitely reusable, and, worst of all, unimprovable.