Melvyn Bragg discusses the development and the future of the novel. This must be the most prolific of novel-producing ages, but are they as good as they used to be?
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the development and the future of the novel. D.H. Lawrence was proud of his job, he said: “I am a man, and alive…for this reason I am a novelist. And being a novelist, I consider myself superior to the saint, the scientist, the philosopher, and the poet, who are all great masters of different bits of man alive, but never get the whole hog”. Fiction pours from the presses and in number of titles, this must be the most prolific of novel-producing ages. But are they as good as in the golden age, or the silver, or the bronze, or the steam age? And do they signify? Is technology marginalising the novel or is it still the greatest way of telling a story?Despite many premature declarations of its demise, (stretching back almost to the date of its birth), the novel has been ‘getting the whole hog’ for hundreds of years. But what makes a novel different from other literature, and can we expect it to be still around, ‘getting the whole hog’ into the next century? With D J Taylor, novelist, critic, biographer of Thackeray and author of After the War; Gillian Beer, King Edward VII Professor of English Literature, Cambridge University and Chairman of the Booker Prize judges 1997.