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Author Topic: ITT: We discuss modern vs. contemporary literature  (Read 425 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 29, 2013, 02:53:14 PM »

From the Other Topics board, the following discussion took place regarding a distinction between Modern and contemporary literature:

The OP, rewritten without starting sentences with "it" or "and":

Anyone who has read a fair amount of classic English literature (e.g. KJV, Shakespeare, Milton) knows there is nothing wrong with starting a sentence with "And" or "It." This is one of those vacuous rules invented by semi-literates who somehow landed a job teaching grammar to children.

My apparently semi-literate English teachers didn't teach me the grammar of the KJV, Shakespeare, Milton, et al.

Consider technical writing.  Look at any technical paper out there - any sentences that start with it or and?

I used to give presentations to a customer who harshly criticized the use of "this" in spoken language.
The piece under consideration, horrendous though it be, is a poem, and not the instruction manual for a Thighmaster, though the literary merit of the two pieces may not be too dissimilar.

Consider modern authors like J.K. Rowling or E.L. James.  I wonder if either of them starts a sentence with it or and?  Huh
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Modern Authors include, but are not limited to: Oscar Wilde, James Joyce,  Bram Stoker, Flann O'Brien, Virgina Woolf and others.

I'm not familiar with any of their work so I wouldn't know if they started sentences with it or and.  By mentioning J.K. Rowling and E.L. James, I'm narrowing modern authors to British authors born after 1963.

Those would be contemporary  authors, not modern authors. The Modern Period, by easy conventions, begins with Queen Victoria up until around the 1950s

Contemporary is a synonym for modern.  Why create another division in the 1950's?
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2013, 02:56:28 PM »

From the Other Topics board, the following discussion took place regarding a distinction between Modern and contemporary literature:

The OP, rewritten without starting sentences with "it" or "and":

Anyone who has read a fair amount of classic English literature (e.g. KJV, Shakespeare, Milton) knows there is nothing wrong with starting a sentence with "And" or "It." This is one of those vacuous rules invented by semi-literates who somehow landed a job teaching grammar to children.

My apparently semi-literate English teachers didn't teach me the grammar of the KJV, Shakespeare, Milton, et al.

Consider technical writing.  Look at any technical paper out there - any sentences that start with it or and?

I used to give presentations to a customer who harshly criticized the use of "this" in spoken language.
The piece under consideration, horrendous though it be, is a poem, and not the instruction manual for a Thighmaster, though the literary merit of the two pieces may not be too dissimilar.

Consider modern authors like J.K. Rowling or E.L. James.  I wonder if either of them starts a sentence with it or and?  Huh
If you're being facetious, bravo!  If you're serious: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

I'll accept what you say as a compliment.   laugh

Modern Authors include, but are not limited to: Oscar Wilde, James Joyce,  Bram Stoker, Flann O'Brien, Virgina Woolf and others.

I'm not familiar with any of their work so I wouldn't know if they started sentences with it or and.  By mentioning J.K. Rowling and E.L. James, I'm narrowing modern authors to British authors born after 1963.

Those would be contemporary  authors, not modern authors. The Modern Period, by easy conventions, begins with Queen Victoria up until around the 1950s

Contemporary is a synonym for modern.  Why create another division in the 1950's?

Because there are "hipsters", "literati", and pseudo-intellectuals who think they are beyond and better than "modern", i.e. post-modern?
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2013, 02:57:33 PM »

Modern philosophy: Descartes through Hegel

Contemporary philosophy: Mostly twentieth century stuff, but can go back as far as Kierkegaard .
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2013, 03:00:13 PM »

Because there are "hipsters", "literati", and pseudo-intellectuals who think they are beyond and better than "modern", i.e. post-modern?

I agree that there is such a thing as post-modern literature; however, using the examples of J.K. Rowling and E.L. James, I see nothing post-modern about their work.
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2013, 03:01:28 PM »

Modern philosophy: Descartes through Hegel

Contemporary philosophy: Mostly twentieth century stuff, but can go back as far as Kierkegaard .

Is there a distinction between contemporary and post-modern when applied to philosophy?
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 03:12:15 PM »

Because there are "hipsters", "literati", and pseudo-intellectuals who think they are beyond and better than "modern", i.e. post-modern?

I agree that there is such a thing as post-modern literature; however, using the examples of J.K. Rowling and E.L. James, I see nothing post-modern about their work.

I would file their works as "rubbish."  Well, Rowling is just contemporary children's fiction.
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2013, 03:15:09 PM »

Because there are "hipsters", "literati", and pseudo-intellectuals who think they are beyond and better than "modern", i.e. post-modern?

I agree that there is such a thing as post-modern literature; however, using the examples of J.K. Rowling and E.L. James, I see nothing post-modern about their work.

So...what distinguishes post-modern lit. from any other kind of literature?  Surely it has something to do with style and "attitude" and not just the calendar?

Next question:  Why do these distinctions even matter??
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2013, 03:24:44 PM »

Because we're humans and love distinctions, haha.

A secondary example of Modern could stretch as far back as Shakespeare.

Part of the reason for distinction is to group them into movements, and to avoid the eternal modern, because if modern simply means now, then we are always living in modernity, and even something written 3 years ago is no longer modern, because it belongs to the past. Even this post is no longer modern, because by the time I hit the post button, the action of my posting is completed.
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 03:27:08 PM »

Also, the 1950s should more accurately be, the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945 and the end of the war.
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2013, 03:27:37 PM »

Contemporary hardly means modern.

For sloppy day to day talk fine, but once you use hifalutin talk like literature, that dog no longer hunts.
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2013, 03:32:15 PM »

Contemporary hardly means modern.

For sloppy day to day talk fine, but once you use hifalutin talk like literature, that dog no longer hunts.

When does something that someone writes (usually fiction??) become "literature", as opposed to, well....non-literature?
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2013, 03:37:06 PM »

Contemporary hardly means modern.

For sloppy day to day talk fine, but once you use hifalutin talk like literature, that dog no longer hunts.

When does something that someone writes (usually fiction??) become "literature", as opposed to, well....non-literature?

Really J Michal do you ever ask something which has some substance? You want a rule set for everything and you like many others think inability to offer one and realizing that no rule set can be offered is some profound insight or legitimate criticism. The forum buzzes with too many would be gadflies.
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2013, 03:38:05 PM »

Contemporary hardly means modern.

For sloppy day to day talk fine, but once you use hifalutin talk like literature, that dog no longer hunts.

When does something that someone writes (usually fiction??) become "literature", as opposed to, well....non-literature?

Ask the Barnes and Noble employee. I am sure they can offer you a definition via a list.
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2013, 03:38:49 PM »

"Where do you draw the line?" is generally a pretty unhelpful question that leads to insanity.
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2013, 03:40:26 PM »

Contemporary hardly means modern.

For sloppy day to day talk fine, but once you use hifalutin talk like literature, that dog no longer hunts.

When does something that someone writes (usually fiction??) become "literature", as opposed to, well....non-literature?
I believe Harold Bloom canonized the entirety of Western Literature.

Look up his book.
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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2013, 03:42:52 PM »

I vaguely recall Harold Bloom having some choice words about J.K. Rowling
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« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2013, 03:45:51 PM »

I vaguely recall Harold Bloom having some choice words about J.K. Rowling

Tolkien too.
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« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2013, 03:50:45 PM »

Contemporary hardly means modern.

For sloppy day to day talk fine, but once you use hifalutin talk like literature, that dog no longer hunts.

When does something that someone writes (usually fiction??) become "literature", as opposed to, well....non-literature?
I believe Harold Bloom canonized the entirety of Western Literature.

Look up his book.

A list of books Harold Bloom happens to like isn't the same as the Western Canon.
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« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2013, 03:52:49 PM »

I vaguely recall Harold Bloom having some choice words about J.K. Rowling
LOL yeah and I forgot who else.

But it was more for Jeff's amusement.
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« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2013, 03:58:19 PM »

Contemporary hardly means modern.

For sloppy day to day talk fine, but once you use hifalutin talk like literature, that dog no longer hunts.

When does something that someone writes (usually fiction??) become "literature", as opposed to, well....non-literature?
I believe Harold Bloom canonized the entirety of Western Literature.

Look up his book.

A list of books Harold Bloom happens to like isn't the same as the Western Canon.
I guess I need to make jokes more obvious.
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« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2013, 04:14:06 PM »

Contemporary hardly means modern.

For sloppy day to day talk fine, but once you use hifalutin talk like literature, that dog no longer hunts.

When does something that someone writes (usually fiction??) become "literature", as opposed to, well....non-literature?

Really J Michal do you ever ask something which has some substance? You want a rule set for everything and you like many others think inability to offer one and realizing that no rule set can be offered is some profound insight or legitimate criticism. The forum buzzes with too many would be gadflies.


Yes, I do.  Guess you missed them.  I think there might have been one or two hiding amongst my 8300+ posts.   But God only knows what you consider to be "substance".  I, for one, do not pretend to profundity, nor do I have any need to attempt to establish some kind of "legitimacy" from, of all people, you.  If you don't like my posts or my substance-less questions, you're certainly free to ignore them with no hard feelings from me.  That's what I do to most of your posts, even the ones I understand.

"The forum buzzes with too many would be gadflies"---And you're the self-appointed fly slayer??  ROTFL!!!
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 04:24:19 PM by J Michael » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2013, 04:17:47 PM »

Contemporary hardly means modern.

For sloppy day to day talk fine, but once you use hifalutin talk like literature, that dog no longer hunts.

When does something that someone writes (usually fiction??) become "literature", as opposed to, well....non-literature?

Ask the Barnes and Noble employee. I am sure they can offer you a definition via a list.

That was helpful.
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« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2013, 04:18:56 PM »

Contemporary hardly means modern.

For sloppy day to day talk fine, but once you use hifalutin talk like literature, that dog no longer hunts.

When does something that someone writes (usually fiction??) become "literature", as opposed to, well....non-literature?
I believe Harold Bloom canonized the entirety of Western Literature.

Look up his book.

A list of books Harold Bloom happens to like isn't the same as the Western Canon.
I guess I need to make jokes more obvious.

Emoticons are useful for that very purpose.
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« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2013, 05:02:44 PM »

Contemporary hardly means modern.

For sloppy day to day talk fine, but once you use hifalutin talk like literature, that dog no longer hunts.

When does something that someone writes (usually fiction??) become "literature", as opposed to, well....non-literature?

Really J Michal do you ever ask something which has some substance? You want a rule set for everything and you like many others think inability to offer one and realizing that no rule set can be offered is some profound insight or legitimate criticism. The forum buzzes with too many would be gadflies.


Yes, I do.  Guess you missed them.  I think there might have been one or two hiding amongst my 8300+ posts.   But God only knows what you consider to be "substance".  I, for one, do not pretend to profundity, nor do I have any need to attempt to establish some kind of "legitimacy" from, of all people, you.  If you don't like my posts or my substance-less questions, you're certainly free to ignore them with no hard feelings from me.  That's what I do to most of your posts, even the ones I understand.

"The forum buzzes with too many would be gadflies"---And you're the self-appointed fly slayer??  ROTFL!!!

Michael, this responses, for me, establishes you as one of the most reasonable and legitmate of posters. I enjoy everything you write on this forum.
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