Thursday, 18 August 2011

Blog Thoughts

In the comments under my Dabbler piece on The Rings of Saturn, Jonathan Law suggests that it's a book that is really a 'frustrated blog'. I think he's right - it would have made a brilliant blog, illustrated with those grainy black-and-white pictures, and with links ramifying out in every direction. Looking back, there have been many literary writers who, in another age, might have made great bloggers - imagine the likes of Montaigne or Sir Thomas Browne or Lamb or Hazlitt let loose in the blogosphere; or, nearer our own time, Chesterton or Orwell - or the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa, whose multiple identities and fragmented writings might be made for the age of the blog. Some writers' works now enjoy a posthumous existence as blogs - e.g. The Blog of Henry David Thoreau and The Diary of a Nobody in blog form - and some blogs can be seen as works (in progress) of literary art in themselves...
There was wild talk recently of the 'death of the blog' - that it was a form that had been superseded by newer, snappier means of communication. Well, it may be that the neophiliacs have moved on - they won't be missed, nor will those who really were born to tweet, not blog. Rather that dying, I think (or rather hope) there might be a long-term trend across the blogosphere towards a winnowing out of the dross - especially of the more combative, up-for-a-scrap stuff - leaving the higher-quality content intact. This may be a fond dream, and the whole blogging business might be an ephemeral phenomenon, a passing fad that will leave no legacy. The British Library, however, doesn't seem to think so, and is busy archiving some of the more worthwhile UK blogs for future generations. Well, I say worthwhile, but I note they've archived some curiously named stuff...

10 comments:

  1. Nige,
    Your thoughts about blogging reminded me of this XKCD comic:

    http://xkcd.com/239/

    ReplyDelete
  2. good post nige - and its something I've thought about before too, with regards to one of my favourite books - The Worm Forgives The Plough by John Stewart Collis, which is essentially short philosophical nature rambles, with each page able to stand alone

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh yes, Worm, a great book, which you have just reminded me I have not read for almost thirty years.............time to nip over to Amazon and buy it for a 1p.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hoho - thanks for that glimpse of the future, Anonymous!
    And yes Worm - Collis wld have been a brilliant blogger. Like Recusant, I must read him again...

    ReplyDelete
  5. looks like I must do a 1p book review for the Dabbler!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lamb and Hazlitt certainly, but also De Quincey and indisputably Coleridge. Indeed, STC’s voluminous and labyrinthine prose works are more blog-like than most blogs: you can almost feel the hyperlinks kicking in as he goes off in pursuit of an arcane point from Schelling, a detail from Hakluyt’s voyages, an etymological quibble and its theological/ philosophical/psychological ramifications, or some minute observation of clouds building over Derwent Water or the exquisite effect of candlelight reflected in his own chamberpot.

    So it’s the Romantics, innit? You could perhaps make a case for the blog as the late Romantic prose form par excellence: the emphasis on personal experience, however apparently mundane or trivial, the promiscuous mingling of genres and styles, the penchant for the miscellaneous and discursive and corresponding distaste for most kinds of schematic thought? I haven’t got the time or mental energy to think it through right now, but it seems think-throughable.

    ReplyDelete
  7. By gosh, I think you're right, Jonathan! Food for thought there all right....

    ReplyDelete
  8. https://kdp.amazon.com/community/profile.jspa?editMode=true&userID=1424531
    https://kdp.amazon.com/community/profile.jspa?editMode=true&userID=1427388
    https://kdp.amazon.com/community/profile.jspa?editMode=true&userID=1428236
    https://challenges.openideo.com/profiles/1119874714489381863241486229946090
    http://www.dead.net/member/khairyayman
    https://vimeo.com/user54212503
    https://mootools.net/forge/profile/naklafshdmam
    http://bionumbers.hms.harvard.edu/bionumber.aspx?&id=113190

    ReplyDelete