Henry Green Says Social Media Is Cool
Maybe. I might have a liberal interpretation, but you be the judge.
The interview with Henry Green is really intriguing. In fact, I’ll probably make a couple of posts out of it.
I love what Green had to say about how developing technology affects the written word. Keep in mind, this interview was conducted in 1958, long before blogging and social media. Long before television sitcoms really blew up. Long before authors began to adapt their stories into all kinds of new media.
At the time, films and TV were the issue.
Do you believe that films and television will radically alter the format of the novel?
It might be better to ask if novels will continue to be written. It’s impossible for a novelist not to look out for other media nowadays. It isn’t that everything has been done in fiction—truly nothing has been done as yet, save Fielding, and he only started it all. It is simply that the novelist is a communicator and must therefore be interested in any form of communication. You don’t dictate to a girl now, you use a recording apparatus; no one faints anymore, they have blackouts; in Geneva you don’t kill someone by cutting his throat, you blow a poisoned dart through a tube and zing, you’ve got him. Media change. We don’t have to paint chapels like Cocteau, but at the same time we must all be ever on the lookout for the new ways.
Green says: “The novelist is a communicator and must therefore be interested in any form of communication.”
When I read that, I immediately thought of our favorite Luddite author, Jonathan Franzen–he who despises social media and the e-reader.
And before you call me out, I’ll jump out in front and say, yes, I personally don’t use e-readers, but I have no problem with their growing popularity.
Outside of technology, I also love how Green recognizes the novelist’s responsibility to be aware of the changing nature of language.
All of this in 1958.
The man was ahead of his time.