Can Literary Success and Quality Co-Exist?
Opinion / August 19, 2010

In a fascinating and insightful article, “A Novelist Re-Imagines Shakespeare’s Juliet — and Challenges Literary Snobbery” in the Wall St. Journal, author Anne Fortier talks about her visit to her homeland of Denmark and the change of perspective about art. Ms. Fortier was having lunch with friends when words like “ambitious” and “commercial” starting to fly around…but not in a good way.This was two days before Fortier’s new novel; “Juliet” – about a young lady who thinks she might be related to the teenage Shakespeare made famous – was coming out. When the book came it was hailed as…. ambitious and commercial – oh boy. Even though critics did admit that the book was descent (according to Ms. Fortier) they went out of their way criticize the idea of the book, rather than the book itself. . To their credit, the Danes voted with their money and “Juliet” sold well. Some critics are quick who damn literature which is not written to please the intellect of those sitting on the high throne of prize committees. However, they forgot that some the books hailed today as classics were either ostracized when they came out (“The Grapes of Wrath“, “Moby Dick” which are among…

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