"In Washington, it's dog eat dog. In academia, it's exactly the opposite."
I'm not an expert on academic writing, nor am I an expert on popular writing, but I am somewhere between expert and idiot on both topics.
What I don't understand is how some popular writing goes straight from popular to being worthy of study right away and other popular writings disappear as the term of its popular closes. Let's take, for example, John Banville's The Sea. This novel has gone straight from the publisher's press to the world of academic study. Rather a quick transition don't you think? (The Sea was published in 2005.) This could be because of the quality of the style Banville uses throughout the novel, but how is that style so superior to say, Terry Pratchett's Small Gods?
Pratchett's novel is a mass market paperback (originally published in 1994) and I doubt it will ever truly come into the field of academic study despite its truly inspired and analytical look at organized religion. So who gets to make that choice between what will jump into the world of academia and what will stay in the hands of the masses?
I'm not entirely sure there is a true answer. The answer isn't always who receives awards for their writings. John Banville's novel did earn the Man Booker Prize for 2005, but J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Sorcerer's Stone in the US) has won a lot of awards: The Nestlé Smarties Book Prize 1997: Gold Medal 9-11 years, FCBG Children's Book Award 1997: Overall winner and Longer Novel Category winner, Birmingham Cable Children's Book Award 1997, Young Telegraph Paperback of the Year 1998, British Book Awards 1997 Children's Book of the Year, Sheffield Children's Book Award 1998, and Whitaker's Platinum Book Award 2001. Beyond the pop culture phenomenon her series has caused, J.K. Rowling's books aren't studied as truly academic.
So there you have it, one jumps into the world of the academic, the other on top of the money making and the few that accomplish both quickly are those to be envied.Posted by Diana Geleskie at October 10, 2007 9:20 AM | TrackBack