, the British critic
who published Horizon
, the literary magazine back in the forties,
had a lot to say on this topic (and hundreds of others) in his most famous work,
The Unquiet Grave
He refers to decadence as being the bane of the modern writer and goes on at
length with a good description of just what he means. (Refer to Why Johnny Can't Write.) Since Connolly wrote in 1945, it's interesting to see how accurate history has proven his pronouncements to be.
For just a taste of where he's coming from, consider this:
"The masterpieces appropriate to our time are in the style of the early Chirico, the later Rouault and Picasso's Guernica; sombre, magnificent yet personal statements of our tragedy; work of strong and noble architecture austerely coloured by loneliness and despair.
"Flaubert spoke true: to succeed a great artist must have both character and fanaticism and few in this country are willing to pay the price. Our writers have either no personality and therefore no style or a false personality and therefore a bad style; they mistake prejudice for energy and accept the sensation of material well-being as a system of thought."
The Unquiet Grave, 1945
We live, I suppose, in a visual
era. Our artists make pictures and money, not words on a page on a path to the truth. The best new literature, when it comes after the deluge, may well be right here, on E2
, because it is upon the exchange
that writers have always depended to stoke the fires of their imaginations.