Sunday, October 20, 2013

European Culture Older Than American Culture?

In the program VPRO Boeken writer Oek de Jong (rond 29:00) in commenting on a quote from Philip Roth said 'I'm affraid not of the extinction of the novel, but of the extinction of the reader..':
'the European culture is much much much older than the American culture. Therefore culture is, I think, much more anchored'
The more I read about the Scottish enlightenment, the American revolution and Transcendentalism the more I'm convinced that this is nonsense. American and European culture are just as old and closely linked to eachother. America influenced Europe, just think of the French revolution and of the influence of the American revolution on politics in England and Scotland. Think of the influence of American presbyterianism on Abraham Kuyper.

We can therefore discard European culture as a significant parameter in predicting the future of the Novel.

What I did like in the interview is Oek de Jong's short introduction of the history of the novel, especially the realistic novel in the 19th century that described all of society.

Measuring the decline of the novel isn't as easy as Oek suggests, especially considering the decline of the tv and the rise of the internet.

The CINEKID 2013 conference on Creativity & media literacy which according to Androulla Vasiliou is at the heart of modern, democratic societies, points to an increased awareness of the important role of content creation plays in society.

Could it be that, after decades of focus on technology we are moving towards an age of eloquence and content creation? A return to the 18th century of Shaftesbury, the giant of both European (England, Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands) and American culture (Witherspoon, Princeton), might be imminent.

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