Why are English and American novels today so gutless?

Why are English and American novels today so gutless?

The great Bengali thinker Rabindranath Tagore, born 150 years ago, was a passionate political author. Sadly, literary writers today seem to have no time for politics

The past sometimes shames us. At least, visitors this weekend to Dartington Hall in the south Devon town of Totnes must have come away feeling taunted by history. Because while the festival they attended was celebrating the life of Rabindranath Tagore, the great Bengali artist and thinker born 150 years ago, it also cast a shard of light on a gaping, and usually unremarked upon, hole in today’s culture.

You glimpsed it every time a musician performed one of Tagore’s songs urging fellow Indians not to give up their struggle against British rule, and you confronted it directly in discussions of the poet’s political and social campaigning. Because what his legacy draws attention to is a creature so rare in today’s culture as to be semi-endangered: the political author.

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2 Responses to Why are English and American novels today so gutless?

  1. Jeff says:

    Spot on. Looking around, where’s the breadth of vision? The broadened, human outlook? Who has the time and the courage to delve deeply into matters of the mind and heart before opening their mouths and sharing the fruits with others?

    The shelves are full of ‘gutless’ books, clamouring for a moment of people’s attention, before disappearing into oblivion.

    Tagore spoke from a quiet, centred, place; listening to his words required a certain measure of quiet reflection too.

    Nice post. Sign me up.

  2. thehealer31 says:

    I agree.

    You wouldn’t know it by today’s literary standards but there is a great history/tradition in English and American Literature of political dissent, of voices speaking out against all forms of bigotry, against war, against colonialism, etc…

    The same can be said of literature in other parts of the world.

    Sadly, it is a big void today that is felt more and more.

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