Literature of the Future and the Future of Literature

Mounir Jilani Ben Zid


With the advent of technology, the triumph of immediacy, and the emergence of an environment of epistemic humility, a consensus has grown in some literary and academic quarters that literature is either dead, at death’s door, or at best in intensive care. This paper argues that this kind of diagnosis and autopsy of the discipline is not due to the irrelevance of the old forms of literature in today’s world, but rather to a failure of nerve and imagination in the face of immediacy and market temptation. The different scenarios and attempts to digitize the printed book through ebooks and “biterature” result in the literature of the future rather than the future of literature; the value of literature lies in its ability to challenge, rather than reinforce, our world assumptions. My argument is that for literature to be healthy and continue to thrive in today’s environment, it should not be chameleon-like and forced to adjust its values to the tailored needs of the information and immediacy age or retreat before the forces of consumer vacillation. Instead, it should cling to its fundamental value of taking the lesser travelled path, no matter how maladapted, and writers and scholars should take remedial action against literature’s unhealthy environment and


Literature; Future; Crisis; Biterature; Raison d’être

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