Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Class Pyramid Of British Literature

Here's an interesting article, "The Class Pyramid Of British Literature", over at The Guardian about how different types of writers are ranked in terms of "social class". An excerpt:

At the top, to my way of thinking anyway, there are those impoverished aristos, the poets. To be a poet, however reduced and/or neglected, is to be a member of an elite; heir to a tradition that includes Chaucer, Shakespeare, Byron, Auden and Larkin.

Poets, for me, are closely followed by playwrights, for rather the same reason. Playwrights aren't aristocrats, but oddly vagrant. They're part of a tradition that is, arguably, the richest and most original thread in the English-literature tapestry. Write a successful play and you join Shakespeare (again), Jonson, Congreve, Sheridan, Wilde, Shaw, Pinter (there's no need, here, to get into an argument about the Irish contribution). I think it's undeniable that plays and players embody something uniquely demotic and uniquely English about our literature.

Then, oh dear yes, we come to the literary novelists. These are not (usually) aristocrats, but are rather middle-class types who spring from bourgeois society in all its complexity. Popular historians, biographers and memoirists share a similar position.

How much further are other types of writers ranked? Click here to read the whole article.

Would anyone like to take a crack at ranking the literary hierarchy here in the Philippines? :D

My thanks to the regular PGS blog reader who emailed me this link.


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