Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842-2003
Curtailed in this decline of the literary are things like English departments, the capacity to make a living only writing literary books, the belief that the state should support individual writers and artists, and so on. Literary writing is healthy when there is a relatively healthy labor market. Its moment of most expansive availability – the age of the Penguin paperback, say – required an enforceable copyright regime, universal public education, and high rates of employment. Its status declines with all these things; its interest diminishes as people are pushed out of secure professional life. A recent editorial in the journal Cultural Sociology argues that literature “is of little consequence” to twenty-first century elites. It has become, instead, “an object of cultural consumption, for dwindling and aging publics.”  No one would make the absurd claim that reading and writing literature are entirely outmoded. But literature is produced now in a general situation of decline.
So it’s really just a difference of emphasis .
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