October 20, 2010

On Posterity and Cultural Conservatism

Writing about web page http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/sep/04/gabriel-josipovici-modernism-tom-mccarthy

"In cultural terms, we live in deeply conservative times. Editors at several major publishing houses have to run novels' synopses past reader focus groups before being allowed to publish them; "literary" festivals feature newsreaders and other media personalities. We shouldn't imagine, though, that things were that different in the golden age of modernism. Ulysses was printed, in 1922, on a small, private press in Paris, in a run of 1,000; Kafka's Metamorphosis, on its small-press publication in 1915, sold 11 copies – of which 10 were bought by Kafka. Yet can anyone, now, name the successful middlebrow writers of 1922 or 1915? Of course not."

(Tom McCarthy, reviewing Gabriel Josipovici's What Ever Happened to Modernism? for the Guardian.)

What the fuck is a reader focus group?

How do I get onto one?


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