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Why are modern novels "so bloody boring?"

In a story that came via Instapundit who picked it up from Amit Varma's India Uncut , Julian Gough explains,

". . .western culture since the middle ages has overvalued the tragic and undervalued the comic. We think of tragedy as major, and comedy as minor. Brilliant comedies never win the best film Oscar. The Booker prize leans toward the tragic. In 1984, Martin Amis reinvented Rabelais in his comic masterpiece Money. The best English novel of the 1980s, it didn’t even make the shortlist. Anita Brookner won that year, for Hotel du Lac, written, as the Observer put it, “with a beautiful grave formality.”

Actually comedies do occasionally win the Oscar (It Happened One Night, Gigi, My Fair Lady), but they might not meet Gough's standard of brilliant.

Laughter – and outrage – inspired Defoe who put the English novel on the map and whose heroes and heroines (Moll Flanders) broke free of bonds that enchained them. As Defoe also showed, laughter can undermine political power.

Laughter. . .worth thinking about seriously?

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