Why we love bad writing

Recommendations, discussions, and odes to your favorites
Down the well
Posts: 516
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 3:22 pm
Contact:

Re: Why we love bad writing

Post by Down the well » December 28th, 2010, 3:48 pm

In doing research on the Enlightenment period, I came across this paragraph in a Wikipedia article. It made me laugh, given the tone of this thread. It concerns the buying habits of French readers at a particular bookstore during the early 1700's.


"Mauvelain’s records give us a good representation of what literate Frenchmen might have truly read, since the clandestine nature of his business provided a less restrictive product choice. The most popular category of books was political (319 copies ordered). This included five copies of D’Holbach’s Système social, but around 300 libels and pamphlets.Readers were far more interested in sensationalist stories about criminals and political corruption than they were in political theory itself. The second most popular category, “general works” (those books “that did not have a dominant motif and that contained something to offend almost everyone in authority”) likewise betrayed the high demand for generally low-brow subversive literature. These works, however, like the vast majority of work produced by Darnton’s “grub street hacks”, never became part of literary canon, and are largely forgotten today as a result.[34]"



Seems there has always been a market for exciting stories -- even if the words used to tell them don't always inspire the critics to sing their praises.

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: Why we love bad writing

Post by Margo » December 28th, 2010, 4:08 pm

Down the well wrote:Seems there has always been a market for exciting stories -- even if the words used to tell them don't always inspire the critics to sing their praises.
Surely you don't mean we're not getting dumber by the moment and the world isn't going to end at the hands of the current miserable generation?!? :P
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

Down the well
Posts: 516
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 3:22 pm
Contact:

Re: Why we love bad writing

Post by Down the well » December 28th, 2010, 4:18 pm

In fact, I think I'm going to start querying my novel as "low-brow subversive literature". :P

User avatar
sbs_mjc1
Posts: 155
Joined: June 28th, 2010, 5:20 pm
Location: Glasgow, Scotland/Boston, USA
Contact:

Re: Why we love bad writing

Post by sbs_mjc1 » December 28th, 2010, 5:05 pm

lmjackson wrote: Do romance novels count as "bad writing"? No, of course not. Are they intellectually stimulating? Not quite. But I don't think they intend to be. Believe it or not, some authors just want to write books people enjoy and don't give a squat about making literary history.
One of my aunts calls these books 'bubblegum for the mind'. I don't enjoy 'low-brow subversive literature' that much, but I'm a fan of bad movies/TV for probably many of the same reasons people like 'bad' novels. Sure, it's formulaic and has more explosions than plot points, but it's entertaining.

Also, I'd like to point out that Shakespeare was considered by his contemporaries to be writing the equivalent of cheesy action movies. So standards of what is 'good' or 'bad' is pretty fluid over time as well as between different people.
http://sb-writingtheother.blogspot.com/
FORGOTTEN GODS is out September 17th 2011! Check the blog for details.

User avatar
steve
Posts: 203
Joined: June 26th, 2010, 12:09 am
Location: Web City
Contact:

Re: Why we love bad writing

Post by steve » January 4th, 2011, 1:17 am

The Elements of Clunk
Four years ago, I wrote an essay for The Chronicle Review cataloging "The Seven Deadly Sins of Student Writers"—the errors and infelicities that cropped up most frequently in my students' work. Since then a whole new strain of bad writing has come to the fore, not only in student work but also on the Internet, that unparalleled source for assessing the state of the language.
Read one of the best stories by Borges.

John00
Posts: 3
Joined: December 13th, 2010, 6:20 am
Contact:

Re: Why we love bad writing

Post by John00 » January 5th, 2011, 8:14 am

I hope sometimes it depends on our mood in which we are in.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest