A few days back, I happened to be attending an interview with The Visionfic Organisation where I had applied for a content writing internship. Of course, I made it through! However, I was not personally satisfied with the way I answered one question that was asked to me - what do you think is the difference between the writers in the 1900s and 2000s. And that gave me the idea for my first blog- I decided to dig deeper into the works of authors, both classical and modern
If we were to observe the themes of the works of writers ranging from Shakespeare to Murakami, we could find a world of difference between the two. The divergent writing style is obviously the most apparent observation. More creativity and the art of beautifully crafted storytelling is visible in the works of contemporary writers. It has been achieved as the new writers focus on free verse, unlike the earlier writers who strictly adhered to conventional and formal writing.
However, one must ponder over the possibility that the scope for polarity between the traditional and modern literature extends beyond the peculiarity of their respective writing style. For instance, the theme and plot of the classic literature greatly revolved around the social setting and political environment that existed at different points of time in history with respect to each writer in the classical period. Their works were primarily focused on influencing the social drawbacks/contention. It was fashioned in a manner to sway people's thinking to drive social and political change. Many such novels have even inspired laymen to rebel against what had been perceived as ‘evil and demeaning’.
Let me present a few examples to prove my point!
> Novels such as Oliver Twist, Hard Times, Mary Barton spoke about the perils of the Industrial Revolution and presented the hardships of the working class. These novels were highly successful in drawing attention to the atrocious working conditions that used to exist in mills and factories. Authors such as Elizabeth Gaskell, Robert Owen, Charles Dickens wrote their novels characterising the working-class families and portrayed their struggles in their attempts to live a life.
> Novels of Jane Austen, Emile Bronte, George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte sparked the first waves of feminism in the nineteenth century. The works of these authors such as Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Middlemarch and Jane Eyre take a heavy toll on patriarchy that had been etched in society since a time immemorial. These novels were a breakthrough in the gender norms and etiquettes prescribed for women in order to be an ideal wife.
> Towards the end of the 19th century, signs of deflection from the old style became faintly visible. Though many novels were written in the backdrop of the first world war, the Russian Revolution and the post-Soviet period, this period had given birth to few exceptional stories that followed a different approach to storytelling. This deflection, I believe, has given impetus to the exploration of new genres and themes. Animal Farm by George Orwell, a satirical novel, deserves a special mention in this regard.
Now coming to the books of our decade, which began with Harry Potter, a fantasy novel series was a breakthrough when it comes to stereotypes and genres. This fantasy series, which was originally written for a young target audience, was enjoyed by both the old and young alike. I would say creativity reached its peak during this period with the exploration of new genres such as mythology, thrillers, historical fiction, crime and mystery and so on. Works of Amish, Aravind Adiga, Khaled Hosseini and Murakami are a few of my personal favourites.
Now as I wind up my blog, I realise that while the writers in the 1800s thought of their work as an expression of dissent and opinion, the contemporary writers present it as an expression of creativity. In the period in between-from the mid 20th century, we can see a mixture of both these expressions.