Friday, January 10, 2014

Sad Economy = Sad Books

About a decade after an economy tanks, authors tend to create books that are notably miserable, so says a British study. From The Telegraph:
Researchers compared the number of times certain words appeared in more than five million books to certain periods in American and British history. They found that the frequency of words expressing sadness reflected the economic conditions in the 10 years before a book was written.
In a piece The Telegraph ran early last year, culture editor Martin Chilton muses on what would happen if “Instead of ‘mood-boosting books,’ imagine doctors handing out prescriptions for gloomy masterpieces by Samuel Beckett and Thomas Hardy. ”

Chilton looks at the mood-altering possibilities of the 20 depressing novels listed below.

• Thomas Hardy: Jude The Obscure
• Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary
• John Steinbeck: Of Mice And Men
• Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar
• Cormac McCarthy: The Road
• JM Coetzee: Disgrace
• Edith Wharton: Ethan Frome
• Richard Yates: Revolutionary Road
• Nathanael West: Miss Lonelyhearts
• Ernest Hemingway: A Farewell To Arms
• Arthur Koestler: Darkness At Noon
• Graham Greene: The End Of The Affair
• Carson McCullers: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
• Joseph Conrad: The Heart Of Darkness
• William Golding: Lord Of The Flies
• Ian McEwan: Atonement
• Upton Sinclair: The Jungle
• Erich Maria Remarque: All Quiet on the Western Front
• Fyodor Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment
• Franz Kafka: The Trial


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