Saturday, October 11, 2014

A hundred years from now

My daughter loves nineteenth century novels and has convinced me to be a fan as well. I like the concept that the thoughts of writers from over a hundred years ago can still be fresh to readers such as me and I wonder if the same thing will happen with any of my work. I've had some stories published in university literary magazines, including one in the same volume as a Grace Paley story, so perhaps copies will be kept in the college library archives. And my current novels are available in Kindle and Nook forms. The internet is a game changer for longevity (just ask any celebrity with pictures he or she doesn't want out there). So writing a novel today definitely has a time capsule aspect to it.
The book I just finished and reviewed is Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser. I made a few comments on the sexism of the time and on other aspects of Dreiser's thoughts. Of course that makes me wonder what someone would think of White Horse Regressions 100 years after its publication date. Even today, readers have varied impressions of my novels, just as they do with any writer. But there may be additional information available years from now that impacts how people feel about my books. With a little luck I'll be someone they think of as ahead of his time, like Jules Verne, rather than someone, like Theodore Dreiser, whose ideas about women seem dated.

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